Digital is great but don’t forget point of sale, the silent salesperson
Everyone might going crazy for digital these days but that shouldn’t mean we neglect bricks-and-mortar, writes Rosemary Chegwyn. Here she identifies some important considerations when creating point of sale (POS) solutions.
As the movement of online shopping continues around the world and brands continue to ramp up their digital retail strategy – often at the expense of traditional bricks and mortar retailers – an increasingly common pitfall for marketers is to place an almost unwavering focus on digital channels.
While there is no denying the vast potential that exists for brands prepared to invest in emerging technologies, history has taught marketers that the most successful brands are those who seek multi-channelled engagement strategies with consumers across a range of touch points.
Many companies attribute their global success in reinforcing brand recognition, engaging with customers and ultimately driving product sales, to the sustained importance they place on one particular element of traditional marketing – point of sale.
For these brands, the in-store experience, provided to the customer at the moment of purchase is the critical piece of their marketing strategy. Regardless of information and advice received prior to this point, be it through TV, print or digital advertising, it’s the brands’ ability to excite, engage and entice at the very front line of the sales process that often makes the difference between a customer choosing one product over another, and critically one brand over another.
Understanding what makes an effective POS solution is important for brands wanting to differentiate themselves and successfully create emotional connections with consumers. Here are some important considerations that brand marketers should keep in mind when creating powerful POS solutions.
‘Speak’ to the customer
POS should be an integral part of any marketing strategy, as it acts as the permanent face of the brand to consumers. The POS unit should act as the ‘silent sales person’ conveying exactly what a sales person would do for a customer, in the absence of a sales person actually being there. The POS unit should attract customers by using large brand names and impactful visuals, as well as convey the brand’s key messages, to entice customers to make a purchasing decision. In addition, POS needs to effectively educate the customer about the brand’s products and features. It should achieve this through design elements such as lighting, drawing the customer’s eye to certain areas, branding, products testers and instructional imagery.
Stay true to the brand
It’s important to always reflect the brand guidelines in a POS unit – so much so that if you took the logo off a well designed POS unit, the customer should still be able to recognise the brand merely through its core colours and product design. This allows customers to instantly recognise the brand, wherever they are in the world, even among a raft of competing products. For example, at the Perth International Airport Arrivals and Departures Hall, Coty Travel Retail Asia Pacific and EDA Australasia were required to incorporate two brands onto the one POS fragrance unit, Balenciaga and Marc Jacobs, yet needed to stay true to their individual brand guidelines. This was achieved by using separate branding and logos, and various materials to differentiate and highlight each brand. The Marc Jacobs side of the unit used sprayed glass, while the Balenciaga side used gold and marble, which are key elements of its brand guidelines and provided effective results for the brands.
Know your customer
When considering how best to engage with your customers, it is vital to understand who your customers are and what resonates most strongly with them. It’s also important to understand the retail environment the POS unit will be placed in as well as customer buying behaviours.
One way of doing this is by consulting existing research from both overseas and local sources, as well as retailers and brands, to better understand how consumers engage in the retail environment and the types of experiences they’re after. Research such as this can include the November 2014 Deloitte Retail Review Survey which provides new insight into current consumer sentiment and attitudes towards shopping.
EDA is constantly researching the market to find out what resonates with customers in a POS unit. Our research shows that customers find it easier to orient themselves in-store when products are grouped in clear sub-sections on a POS unit, and the centre of a unit is the ideal place to show off new or popular products. These insights often unearth new learnings previously not considered, which can then be taken into consideration when planning the design of a POS unit to ensure it attracts, engages and entices customers.
Refresh and renew
As soon as the POS unit starts to look old or outdated, brands may see a drop in sales, as consumers are always looking for something new. It’s therefore important to refresh and renew POS units regularly to spark consumer interest. Knowing when to update the POS unit depends on the type of industry the brand is in. For example, companies in the cosmetic industry will need to update their POS units more regularly to keep up with the latest trends and remain fashionable.
Consider the supply chain
When it comes time to develop the POS unit it’s important to consider the supply chain to ensure the units are delivered effectively. Consistency across the supply chain can be achieved by partnering with a POS and merchandising company that manages every element of the design, engineering, manufacturing and installation of POS, globally. This ensures not only brand consistency across geographies but also allows for quality and cost controls.
By keeping in mind these five considerations, brands can be on the way to improving their POS solutions helping boost sales, engage customers and build brand awareness.
Rosemary Chegwyn is the Head of Sales and Marketing at EDA Australasia, a leading point of sale and retail merchandising company. She has 30 years sales and marketing experience and with her team, is working with global brands including Coty, L’Oreal, Procter & Gamble, HPM Legrand, Moet & Hennessy, Wesfarmers and the Coles Group to create effective, integrated marketing and point of sale solutions.