A huge investment has been made in new point of purchase (POP) technology in recent years. Agencies have been delving into their reserves of ingenuity to bring a multitude of creative instore marketing tools to market. Some of these respond to a genuine need among brands and retailers - and consumers for that matter - and others are intended more to push the boundaries in terms of creating the wow factor.
The way POP technology is being used by retailers and brands is evolving, Take digital screens, which are now much more commonplace in the retail environment. When we first started seeing digital display screens appearing instore it was clear that they were there mainly for the novelty factor. Today though retailers are much more strategic in how they use display screens and have come to realise that everything from their size, location, content and quality can affect the return they provide.
As well as self-service checkouts, digital screens and the convergence of the virtual and physical store, there are other advances in POP technology, such as Augmented Reality, that could be set to become the next big thing. This may seem like science fiction but it has the ability to take the guesswork out of a purchase and therefore has the potential to be a powerful influence on purchasing behaviour. Wireless charging is another advance that could be set to have a big impact, not just on the look of a store interior, but also on the amount of time staff spend checking and re-merchandising battery operated demonstration products such as toys.
So how should retailers approach the integration of modern POP technology into their instore marketing?
The first question to ask yourself is ‘Will it add value?” While some advances in POP technology are becoming more widely available, and therefore more affordable, there will nevertheless be an outlay of funds required in the first instance to purchase the kit, have it installed and ensure the technology does not fail. It might be worth testing the water first, for example start with a couple of digital screens and use them to support a specific campaign, such as a product launch or seasonal promotion. This means you can assess the results achieved and then decide whether to buy any more kit.
With so many exciting possibilities out there it’s tempting to see any investment in POP technology as a no risk means of enhancing your store environment. This is the direction retail is going in right? Like any marketing though, the tools you use depend very much on what you’re selling and the mindset of your customer. Retailers with a technologically savvy target audience may reap rewards from Augmented Reality, those with a more traditional customer base perhaps wouldn’t. If you want to allocate budget to new instore technology choose something that your customers will connect with and benefit from, otherwise you will struggle to get a return on your investment.
Bear in mind that buying into new POP technology and getting the kit in place is just the first step. Not only does it need to be maintained, but in some cases it also needs to be updated so that it continues to support your changing campaigns and priorities. Who will manage this process? Who will carry out repairs and maintenance tasks? How much will it cost long term? How quickly will the technology become out of date. These are the kind of questions that you need to ask yourself, and have the answers to, before taking the plunge.
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