Importance of flexibility

By Deane Hubball, Creative Instore Solutions Group CEO / 08-Dec-2013

As a brand or a retailer when was the last time you considered the flexibility of POP solutions? I never cease to be amazed at how many brands revert to different in-store activation solutions for different environments. Developing bespoke designs that are globally applicable is business common sense nowadays.

Companies that consider activations that don’t limit the roll out to a single marketplace or label with the capability of delivering customisable messages will ultimately deliver better overall brand results, based on ROI.     

Furthermore, once a footprint is captured for the brand, the relationship with the retailer and shopper is heightened.   Options like interchangeable branding, promotional graphics and flexible configurations highlight as the need for a brand to think beyond the short term price promotion.

This becomes even clearer when speaking with retail store owners and managers like IGA Owner Nick Chriss, whose family owns and runs five IGA stores in Sydney.  Nick explains “As a retailer I am always on the lookout for brands that supply point of purchase displays which have the convenience of a small footprint, with format flexibility, long term suitability and capability to withstand high traffic.  This unit is a prime example of this combination with the brand and POP designer truly considering the needs of the retailer in the design process, making the unit easy to stock and ideal in size to attract impulse purchases at the register” when speaking in relation to the latest CIS design for Mars.  

Quite obviously confectionary traverses many purchase environments.  As well as the grocery retail environment, confectionary continues to hold large market share in the petrol & convenience and route channels, which is categorized by high brand loyalty and driven primarily by chocolate bars, as outlined in Shopwaves. Shoppers purchasing confectionary appear to be more brand loyal, with about 40% of shoppers indicating they would either buy elsewhere or forgo the purchase all together if their brand was not available.    Activation flexibility which is adaptive to an umbrella of brands, packaging sizing, promotions and retail footprint restrictions enforce longer term relationships across all levels of the industry, consumer to brand, brand to retailer.

POPAI USA recently commented when referring to the factors influencing company growth in our industry include “strong retailer relationships”, which is particularly evident in markets, like the US, where point of purchase spend on POP is predominately coming from retailers and agencies and no is longer dominated solely by the brand.  Ultimately this means that brands need to ensure their in-store activations meet more than just the brands key requirements.

At the recent Australian POPAI Summit I was rightly reminded to reconsider a quote by Frank Chimero “People ignore design that ignores people”.  In the POP industry, this sparks true not only for the consumer encounter but also the retail or field sales team whose engagement with a POP display, through installation and/or restocking will ultimately make or break its success.  

I continue to encourage our clients to view their in-store activations as one of their many brand ambassador opportunities but to extend beyond this to ensure there is suitable flexibility to cover a variety of retail environments, planogram and promotional configurations.   No longer is it enough for a design to reflect a single brand message. A successful design needs to meet the needs of its destination whilst still creating a consumer shopping experience.

First published in Retail World Australia 8th November 2013