By Helen Davies, head of consultancy at bezier
Compliance is a major problem in the POS industry – but what is it that makes it so complicated?
In order to achieve a successful in-store campaign I believe retailers really need to understand the overall objectives of POS marketing in terms of the wider campaign whilst also addressing the barriers to compliance.
The act of in-store compliance is, put simply, about adhering to given instructions. This incorporates information such as how a unit should be built, the recommended place to display it within the retail environment, and how much of which stock should be available to the consumer at any given time.
An example of perfect compliance would be a well designed, eye catching fitting which grabs shopper attention in-store, thereby triggering an impulse purchase.
If its part of a wider above the line campaign, it should also prompt recall of TV and print advertising, creating a holistic message that draws consumers towards a particular product or brand.
Essentially, it should be an in-store communication tool between buyer and seller which prompts the desired exchange.
Research has shown that up to 50 per cent of managers do not comply with a given brief for POS in-store.
Compliance is therefore a real problem, with many units being installed incorrectly or not at all, meaning a potentially wasted budget of approximately half a billion pounds per year.
In a survey carried out by bezier earlier this year, reasons cited for lack of compliance include not enough footprint in-store, inappropriate design, delivery time issues, and lack of stock to fill the POS.
The survey also asked a raft of blue chip clients and retailers how they would use an extra tenman hours per week, to which 27 per cent replied they would put up POS materials.
This would suggest that lack of time and staffing levels are also instrumental in the decision as to whether a piece of POS is used or not.
Lack of compliance is damaging on many levels – as well as resulting in lost revenue it also hinders effective in-store communication, meaning many campaigns do not reach their full potential or achieve their sales uplift objectives.
Up until recently, very little research had been invested in the in-store marketing medium meaning ROI calculations were sketchy, or at best estimated.
Yet it is a well documented fact that 75 per cent of purchase decisions are actually made at the point of purchase – that is a large percentage of shoppers willing to be influenced within the retail environment.
So what can we do to start removing the barriers to compliance and increase awareness of its potential as a communication medium, and more importantly a significant driver of ROI in the marketing mix?
I would suggest a good starting point for increasing compliance is actually where it matters most – on the shop floor.
Stepping up communication with brand managers and store staff, helping them to understand the function and possibilities of in-store marketing, and educating them about best practice would surely offer more incentive for them to ensure materials sent to their branches is correctly installed and properly stocked.
Using case studies to illustrate the proven power of these campaigns to generate sales uplift would also be a good motivation tool, particularly for store managers or marketing managers responsible for POS spend.
Objectives of any particular campaign should be explained at the outset too, informing all involved parties exactly how the in-store communication aspect of a campaign relates to its wider messaging. Realistic actions for implementation should also be planned – when does the unit need to go up?
How often will it need to be stocked? Will it work better at front of store or by the checkouts? A few years ago as part of a trial for one of our clients we included pictures of the POS contained in the delivery box on the outside of the box, along with information about what the expected sales uplift for the campaign should be if the unit was installed correctly.
This allowed the merchandisers to identify units as they came in and make sure they were placed in-store on time, increasing communication from the outset.
POS design is another area that can help to improve compliance on a practical level. Many of the respondents in our survey complained there was little room to position large FSDU’s or dual bins within stores.
Clear floor policies have aggravated this problem further in recent years, with health and safety legislation meaning spare footprint room is now scarcer than ever.
POS design is now more sophisticated than it has ever been, but there is still room for improvement with the emphasis now on making POS more quick and easy to install than in previous trials.
Clever design and finding alternative POS fixture types are also an option, such as using parasite units or taking shop designs into account at testing stage, for example.
In conclusion, it’s fair to say that the issue of compliance is a long standing complaint in POS, but one that is now receiving the attention it requires in order to increase and move forward.
Communication on both a strategic and practical level should foster improvements and tackle new, innovative ways of ensuring POS is put out in-store, invested budgets equal ROI, and the medium itself is given the support it needs to flourish.
Examining creative input and analysing shopper behaviour can also give us an insight into which units work and why which can then lead to key findings, enabling us to make recommendations for the future of compliance-friendly POS.
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