Here we are again, that time of year when a company’s business objectives have been set for the financial year ahead and plans have been or are being formulated to take the brand on its journey to achieve those lofty goals.  Everyone from the Sale Reps, the Marketing team and senior Executives have been charged with their own personal targets that will ultimately assist the company wide objectives.  Whilst POP might not be the first area you think could assist you in delivering on those goals, I recommend an about face.

Recently while attending the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in mid-June, I had the opportunity to chat with a vast number of senior executives across an array of industries and brands and the business challenges being faced by them had very common themes, from cost saving, to delivering innovation, reducing working capital or delivering digital with positive ROI.   This got me thinking…. POP can help you deliver on your business objectives?

How do we bring digital into the marketing mix?

Those brands that are ultimately successful will be the ones that invest in delivering digital correctly.  From ensuring websites are mobile enabled, something currently under considered, to maintaining a complementary online and in-store presence, the truth is the retail economy is dominated by mobile.  By 2015 there will be over 863 million NFC enabled smart phones in the market globally and we now have the technology to engage with these devices in-store to educate and build trust in the brand, but ultimately to secure a sale at the point of purchase.

The infancy of this marketing phenomenon is delaying some brands from taking it up, however the early adopters are delivering a broader yet more customised message on a small footprint in store and are successfully converting.

How can in-store compete with online?

POPAI USA recently commented “In the coming era consumers will have increasing opportunities to pre-order and/or pre-pay using mobile devices and/or internet connections, they will have the capacity to avoid undesirable in-store exposures as surely as they record favorite TV shows and skip over the commercials.    Therefore, quality POP displays that provide consumers with intelligent, personally guided shopping and not just brand advertising have the best chance for long-term success”. 

Those retailers who find a way to integrate online and in-store programs through a mobile engagement tool such as Tapit NFC technology, instead of a disjointed approach, will have the “killer brand” and the ultimate success platform for delighting their customers.   The result, your POP is your permanent brand ambassador!

Are there ways of producing efficient economies of scale?

ROI can be further enhanced by chasing global economies of scale, with many brands being asked to reduce their prices in some cases by more than 10%, cost efficiencies are top of mind.  We have worked with brands to help reduce their costs by working with the brand globally and creating economies of scale across their corporate group.  Designing and delivering displays that don’t limit unit roll out to a single marketplace or brand, is now business common sense, allowing procurement to deliver ordering efficiencies.

Furthermore, global purchasing with the capability to deliver a customisable message is key! Brands are now able to customise their message by geographic location, target market demographic, or even by the time of the day or the outside weather on a globally rolled out unit with technology available now.

How do we become more environmentally conscious?

So you have planned in advance and captured your footprint, using your global procurement efficiencies, how do you maximise that and ensure your long term corporate sustainability.  Thinking past the often cheaper short term solutions and looking at a modular and updatable unit that offer your brand flexibility over the long term will reap rewards.

I believe successful companies are those that are thinking beyond an activation’s primary objectives to include longer term concepts like adaptable shelving, flexible branding and promotion graphics that also lower merchandisers labour time per store all contributing to an environmentally sustainable solution.

Can we leverage existing working capital?

Have you been charged with the responsibility to reduce working capital or reduce the time it will take to roll out that capital into the market to realise the return? Does your current POP supplier allow you to leverage existing working capital to reduce costs to market?    POP strategies shouldn’t be about the activation system alone, by engaging a supplier that works with a brand to deliver business results across the board, understanding your long term objectives, makes the most business sense.  

Collaboration, for example could exploit existing working capital still sitting on pallets in your warehouse, say for example a refrigerator, and have it incorporated into a new ambient display into retailers to create complementary sub category destination – “A One Stop Shop”.  

Whilst brands will be at different points along the journey of answering these questions, to me, as a POP supplier it’s about more than designing a one off display, but living and breathing a brand, building trust by understanding and being part of a long term plan to reach brand business objectives.

First published in Retail World Australia 23rd August 2013