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Shelves as the most effective POP medium and a category management tool

We all know shelving systems. We can see them in every retail store for many years. It serves mainly as a carrier of products. The more shelves, the better. Each one has a different color, size, and overall dimensions. Some were purchased directly by the retailer and some were supplied free of charge by the supplier of the goods. During the business history of each store, a mixture of shelving systems has emerged, among which there is a slight mess.

On the market, there appeared manufacturers, who are involved in the development of shelving systems and also provide some support associated with them. They solve shape, color, statics, size, load and they are constantly making innovations. On the other hand, we can also find cheap shelves on the market, often supplied directly from China. Just fill in a few basic parameters directly on the Internet and the shelves are ready.

All the time, we hear the term “shelves of the future”. In Germany, we can see standard shelves supplemented with lighting or LCD directly on the rails. At the moment, these innovations are used, for example, by breweries, which supply shelves to retail chains and are constantly testing these innovations.

Why are we talking about shelves? Shelves are used to clearly define the space in stores. The better and bigger the place, the more sales are expected. It is for this reason that submitters invest in shelves. They want greater turnover at every establishment. But stores are not boundless and finding another place is not easy.

Recently, marketing has also played a big role. It tries to brand the shelves, apply lighting, and also endeavors to provide a quality category management, to which it attaches great importance. However, a big problem is “blindness” towards many of the products that the customer sees when shopping. If there are about 100 products side by side, in 4 rows, even though the navigation at the top is used, it is unlikely that the customer will study it and then follow it. Of course, it all depends on the nature of a particular category. If we are talking about larger products, navigation will usually play a significant role. However, if the products are small, the categorization is meaningless and the impulse or disturbing element, such as focal point, light effect, LCD, etc., will play a bigger role… We can see how companies work with category management on the market of companies, for example, Plzeňský Prazdroj, which not only brands the shelves in its colors but also uses specific color coding in a complex navigation system – in the front rails on toppers or stoppers on the shelf.

On the other hand, there are also companies in the same category or the category of soft drinks, supplying shelves that do not contain category management. These focused on unique graphics supporting one brand, lagging behind the frequency of brands and choosing the dominant one. At the same time, these shelving systems contain lighting for shelves and toppers, they are higher and generally more dominant than the competing ones. Such shelving systems are being considered to be efficient. Instead of the category management, here it is being betted on impulse.

The clients thus cover the branding of the entire product line and do not only take care of their display but if possible, they try to gain shelf space of the entire aisle and use their brand to decorate the entire category. Is it worth it? The answer is – YES. The main reason is that if they implement the entire category supported by their brand, the customer in the store feels that he is in the section of the brand. In general, it is proven that sales increase by approximately 20 % on average.

However, is the 20 % enough? Yes, it is. The client gets space for several years in advance, does not pay fees, manages the shelf space and its competitors, and at the same time increases sales by 20 %. What more could we want?

Nowadays, the trend is to use special applications to manage these projects. There is specific software available on the market today that can manage the ordering of shelving systems concerning the frequency of expenses, communicate between sales representative, headquarters, and supplier, provide financial reporting, and most importantly constantly monitor stock on shelves taking into account sales prospects based on plans and previous expenditure statistics.

Currently, there are two segments furthest in this area – soft drinks and beer. These two segments invest significant budgets each year in the purchase of flexible and versatile configurable shelving systems to activate key retail customers and secure long-term sales support in the traditional market. Where other companies underestimate it.

Marek Končitík, DAGO, s.r.o.

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