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A brand at the point of sale: use it, protect it, build it …
Proper communication at the point of sale uses and builds the brand value
Every day, we are exposed to offers of new products and face up the necessity to decide which of the many very similar variants to choose. In such a moment, our eyes are looking for some guidance – a brand. A brand helps customers to identify products and to decide on a purchase more easily.
A brand works as an activating code
Each brand has in-built emotional and functional codes; or we can define it as a set of codes of symbolic representation of habitual emotional and functional expectations on a particular product or service. These are activated after seeing a subject brand or based on other sensory stimulus that will cause associations to a brand being previously stored into customer´s memory on a long time basis. The resulting codes then represent, for example, values, quality, taste or experience (from a previous experience or communication). For example, after seeing the Colgate logo, most customers recall memories and feelings suggesting them that it represents dental care products of a specific value.
How is it possible? Customers can easily identify a good product brand with thought-out, long-term clearly communicated and consistent identity among products of competitive brands. Thanks to a clear argumentation, they easily understand and fix values and benefits of a brand and visualize them based on an impulse through its display. So that brands help us to make decisions without long thinking and that is what our naturally lazy brains like.
Properly conducted contents of communication on P.O.P. media thus activate the above mentioned emotional and functional codes; and by displaying the brand it activates or strengthens an interest to buy a product. At the same time, the P.O.P. communication helps to the brand itself to build its value, if it is created in accordance with its essential attributes.
A customer can change his/her mind
Consumers are gradually compiling imaginary lists of brands for individual product categories (so called consideration sets) they have some experience with already and seek for. Mostly, they are willing to choose from them quite freely, though there exists a hierarchy of their preferences in their minds. Also a properly processed and positioned P.O.P. communication has a significant impact on which ones they choose.
According to a recent research of the association POPAI CE called Shopper Engagement Study CZ, 87 % of goods in Czech shopping carts are without planning what brand to buy, or an eventual plan is changed in favor of another brand. Only 13 % of customers have a plan at the brand level and these customers really keep such a plan. This so called in-store decision rate shows in concrete product categories with varying intensity (see the Chart below).
For example in the case of hair care cosmetics or alcohol, a brand is very important deciding factor, while in the case of spices or deodorants, it is not so important. Shopping behavior research also proves that after seeing an in-store advertisement, a customer can impulsively buy a different brand than the originally intended one within the same category. The more significant a brand of deciding is, the more thoroughly it should be displayed on a P.O.P. communication.
How to increase the probability that a customer buys concrete brand?
1. Show the brand in visual centers to utilize its impulse potential. The brand must be a main point of P.O.P. media, which will attract attention of customers activating the already existing associations of a brand in their minds.
2. The brand must be well visible and distinctive on P.O.P. media, because it represents a value of the product and contains the above mentioned functional and emotional codes. It is a connecting element and “activating button” of what customers know about the product from their previous experience and from other communication channels. It should therefore be one of the main visual elements customers see on your P.O.P. material at first sight.
3. Show the brand in a sufficiently distinctive proportion and contrast to be visible also from a longer distance and ideally from all directions.
4. P.O.P. medium should use the color code that is typical for the brand. For example we won´t sell Coca-Cola (picture in photo gallery) from yellow display or Nivea brand from green one.
5. There may happen that a customer does not know the brand yet. In such a case, it is decisive whether the P.O.P. communication clearly shows what product and its benefits it offers and what needs it satisfies – then customers can identify with the need and it is more probable that they choose such a product, at the same time we contribute to the brand by coding appropriate attributes.
6. The true is that the less the brand is well-know, the more it must draw attention to itself, or rather significantly present itself also on P.O.P. media in an effort to build the brand.
7. So called iconic brands have a strong emotional potential and can promote sales of products of the whole category. For example, after seeing P.O.P. medium of the Milka brand, many customers get an appetite for something sweet and they are also positively influenced for further shopping by the strong emotional code of the brand.
8. Work with emotions and experiences that relate to the brand. Showing customers a brand with a strong emotional code, it is capable to change their momentary mood. This eventually helps to support purchase decisions, because a person with positive mood will purchase more likely than a person with negative or neutral mood, moreover towards the concrete brand.
9. Use the principle of mirror neurons. A brand evokes positive emotions, such as when watching a TV spot. Such a customer then sees a brand logo or picture from a TV spot on a P.O.P. medium, thereby invoking memories of an experience during previous contact with the advertisement and stimulates the remembered mood. Thanks to that such a customer is more inclined to buy the product.
10. The strength of promotions and their ability to increase sales relates to the familiarity and power of the promoted brand. In the case of strong brands and products, we can expect higher increase in sales compared to less known brands even when their promotion intensity is equivalent, because besides the promotion there is also the attractiveness of the brand.
And last but not least, don´t forget that we must respect brand positioning within any presentation of the brand. An inadequate implementation of a P.O.P. communication medium is actually detrimental to the brand.
Daniel Jesenský DAGO, s.r.o.
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Chart: The significance of a brand when choosing products within various FMCG assortment categories. Source: Shopper Engagement Study CZ 2016, POPAI CE&IPSOS, N=5141
Picture: P.O.P. medium with a well-positioned brand and relevant color code. Source: Advertising Display Power Research 2009, POPAI CE