Whether you call it point-of-purchase (POP) or point-of-sale (POS), interpretive signage that distinguishes your brand is a must. Especially in consumer goods, these signs are the final chance you have to sell your brand’s products.
Some are located on the shelf (known as shelf-talkers), or on your product (in the wine industry they are called neck-talkers), or on the shipper (known as case-backers, case-riders, or back-cards). Some big-box stores and supermarkets allow large display pieces at the end of the aisles (know as end-aislers). Wherever they are, these signs deliver compelling arguments to make the purchase.
What do all these point-of-sale pieces have in common?
They are all strategically located where the customer, the product, the money, and the decision all come together. No matter how much advertising your customer sees before they get to the venue where your product is sold, they are more influenced by what they see right next to your product. It’s the last word. Couple that with the notion buyer and you begin to realize how important POS is to the actual sale.
But how do you get it there, and how do you keep it in place? Here are 7 elements for merchandizing with successful point-of-sale material.
1. Permission: Most venues have strict rules about point-of-sale materials. Get the facts before your marketing people start to design. Due to limited shelf space, size is critical. If it’s too big, it will not be used.
2. Location: Large POS in heavily trafficked areas are the most effective. But generally you need a price reduction program resulting in stacks of your product to get these prime locations. Carefully design of your POS for the specific location.
3. Font: Due to the requirement that the POS piece be read 4-6 feet away, larger and easy-to-read fonts must be used. The message must be succinct, compelling, and decisive.
4. Installation: For the most part, people on your payroll will have to actually put your POS up. The competition may remove them so your people have to visit the retailer on a regular basis to assure they are still up.
5. Attrition: We found that over half of the expensive POS we provided our distributors was put in the garbage. So get ready to produce more than you will ever see up on the sales floor.
6. Message: Include the essential elements: distinguishing factors, benefits of use, eye-catching graphics, description of product, third-party endorsements, seasonal appropriateness, and compelling reasons to buy. With all that said – the shorter, the better!
7. Timeliness: Current news about your product, recent improvements, awards, or accolades are more compelling than older ones. The sooner your product features the most recent news, the better.
The best point-of-sale material is the label and the package, because they are the only pieces that you can guarantee will always get to the shelf. We put a big foot on our label and a gold medal sticker right on the bottle.
We had to design a different foot logo for different uses. For an end-aisler piece we used the watercolor footprint found on the label. For the shipper, we used a cartoon-like foot with less detail, and for the floor stickers that walked our customers up to our products we used a left and right oversized version. With all that, the little shelf-talkers with effective and current information made the biggest difference in our sales.
Who Are We.
Having built and sold a bestselling national brand, we appreciate the value of brands and everything it takes to make them successful. Companies are valued by their brand equity. Achieving and maximizing brand equity requires tremendous respect for all your customers, from your wholesaler to your end user.
Starting in our laundry room with no money and no knowledge of the industry, we built the famous Barefoot Wine brand. We learned a lot they don’t teach in school and much of it the hard way. Although our success was in consumer products, our real world experience will be helpful to anyone looking for information and advice about brands.
We have written the New York Times Bestselling Business Book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand, which chronicles the history of the famous brand from its inception through its acquisition. Our book is now required reading in schools of entrepreneurship across the country. We hope this book will provide inspiration and encouragement for all those contemplating starting a brand or wanting to improve their existing brand.
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey
-Barefoot Wine Founders