This column will focus on trends, technologies and approaches used in-store to drive product sales and reach a consumer growing more elusive and more discriminating each day. The goal is to provide information relevant to how brand marketers do business in-store -- from consumer research to retailer attitudes toward in-store programs to the effect legislation has on what can or cannot be done. The Point of Purchase Advertising Institute, as the international association devoted to the advancement of point-of-purchase advertising, stands in a unique position, representing the tripartite responsible for in-store programs -- brand marketers, retailers and suppliers of point-of-purchase advertising.
Why should it matter to you? Because never in the history of advertising have brand marketers and retailers been faced with more choices when it comes to displays, permanent fixturing and in-store media, all geared toward one goal -- increasing sales. Just how to do that in-store is the goal of POPAI's research. Most recently the research took the form of POPAI's Consumer Buying Habits Study. It yielded a higher in-store decision rate than the previous one a decade before. For supermarkets it climbed to 70% from 66%, and yielded the first-ever in-store decision rate for mass merchandisers -- 74%. Simply put, consumers made brand and product choices in the store aisle. These figures demonstrate the tremendous opportunities existing to influence consumers at the point where they make a purchase. Nearly three out of five purchase decisions for coffee, frozen juices, beer and soft drinks are made in-store. For certain product categories, especially nonessential goods, the in-store decision rate is sky-high, exceeding 90%.
Nearly three out of four purchase decisions at supermarkets and in mass merchandiser stores are made or completed in the store, and POPAI's study reveals that the majority are unplanned purchases. Additionally, the rise in supermarket decision rates suggests greater effectiveness of POP as it becomes more integrated in the marketing mix. We also found that the time the consumer is in-store lasts nearly an hour and is likely to take consumers through most parts of the store. This substantial amount of time offers both the retailer and brand marketer many chances to interact and influence the shopper. As media options continue to proliferate, POPAI's Consumer Buying Habits Study proved that consumers are reachable in the last 3 feet of your marketing plan -- the distance between the product on the shelf and the consumer's shopping cart.
Dick Blatt is president of the Point of Purchase Advertising Institute (POPAI), Englewood Cliffs, N.J.