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Retail Engagement

Posted: November 8, 2007, from the November 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.

Within the world of retail, point-of-purchase advertising is second only to a well-trained sales staff in promoting and moving products. POP displays are vibrant communicators of a brand’s story and values to consumers, while clearing the way for a brand to stand out from competition occupying the surrounding shelf space.

According to the Point-of-Purchase Advertising Institute, 67% of purchase decisions are made in store, thus making it critical that brands give consumers as much product information as possible on the shelf. Paragraphs of text won’t do the trick; instead, brands face the challenge of engaging the consumer while providing necessary product information within a two-second span, the estimated time a consumer gives to a product.

In addition to the year-round concern about engaging and educating consumers, holiday seasons are a battle of sales margins, with retailers increasing engagement tactics as early as Labor Day. “It’s hard to agree that such early positioning will have any lasting effects when the majority of the general public starts to shop two weeks before the holiday,” said Bob Duerr of BlueWater Communications, Inc., a New Jersey based marketing and advertising agency. As a result, the latest developments in POP marketing attempt to both engage and educate consumers as they enter the retail environment to encourage repeat purchases.

Global Influences, Retail Impact

Within the retail marketplace, influences on consumer spending can vary depending on larger economic trends—including the housing market, labor expenses and increases in energy costs. As financial markets tighten, brands focus on rebranding and relaunching their products to increase sales, while also cutting marketing costs to initiate savings. “Innovation, planning and timely execution of POP marketing initiatives can keep things fresh,” said Duerr. “Recent rises in gas, shipping and labor prices have created a market for simplistic stands and pop-up displays that offer easy design and setup.”

Multi-message Branding (MMB) and other interactive POP displays are part of another growing trend that reflects larger economic concerns. These methods allow brands to change messaging or campaigns without additional investments in materials. “Outside of vertical marketing strategies, these techniques have the effect of multistage advertising fireworks with branded visuals intertwined with catchy remixed tunes, as in the case of Target’s recent media barrage,” said Duerr. “On smaller scales, MMB can be employed by changing POP store to store or billboard to billboard, and throughout the media channels.”