Displayed among many competitors on a vast gondola, a product is just another SKU. But merchandise it with its flankers and flavors in a well-designed point-of-purchase display, and you have the makings of a megabrand.
Brand marketers have known for some time that quality POP displays help close the in-store communications loop. At their best, those displays inform and persuade consumers -- they don't just hold product.
Encouraged by retailers' interest in providing a more efficient and interesting store environment, more brand marketers are supplying custom-designed displays for their key brands, which are aimed at maximizing sales and securing a destination for the product in the store.
"Especially in supermarkets," says Joe Ricci, promotion services manager, for Duracell, Bethel, Conn., "It gives our products a home."
Some are designed, like the deceptively simple racks for Keebler Ready Crust, to work in-line within a gondola section. Others have impact as stand-alone fixtures, like the new SnackWells metal racks that won Nabisco semi-permanent secondary displays in hundreds of supermarkets this summer.
Here is what some leading brand marketers are saying about their point-of-purchase displays:
promotion services manager
Duracell Bethel, Conn.
We have various series of the Duracell battery endcap. It has been available in one form or another for the last 10 to 12 years. It was designed to give us that endcap presence not only in supermarkets, but anywhere a massive battery display is needed.
It is a standard kind of unit. Our competition makes one too. Usually we wind up sharing space on the endcap with competitive brands. They are standard size as far as carded products.
The most important feature of the display for us, especially in supermarkets, is that it gives our products a home. Batteries are very much an impulse item. That type of display can trigger as much as 64% of purchases, according to industry estimates.
The latest version of our battery endcap is much more geared to providing consumers with more information as to battery size and package size. We try to give space for the retailer to designate sizes and take advantage of point-of-sale opportunities for promotions and short term offers, such as coupon pads, without hiding the product. This gives them a place to put signage and the UPC. We want to avoid the look of clutter and make it a more simple and pleasant shopping experience. People can see what they want.
Retailers love them. They use our display and other variations of manufacturer displays to a great extent. Most batteries are still sold in simple in-line hook sets. That is just the way it is. Lots of free-standing point-of-purchase displays such as prepacks and corrugated shippers that can boost incremental sales are offered annually.
We try and gear our display to the store. We have bigger ones for "A" stores. If the store has a height restriction, we have five- and six-foot displays. We also offer different widths: three- and four-foot. We try to accommodate specific needs.
Regardless of size, the displays carry the same color scheme and logo type. We try to maintain consistency in our displays worldwide so that a tourist from Des Moines, Iowa, who is visiting Germany will be able to recognize and buy Duracell batteries in another country, and know it is the same quality and product size as anywhere in the world.
We want our displays to be consistent, clean and friendly to shop. They have to be built to last and be safe for store personnel and customers. They should be easy to assemble or no assembly necessary.
We find that the more point-of-purchase displays are added to the store, the bigger the pie gets, so to speak. It doesn't take away sales from other displays.
Our current display has a dual track system and raised, vacuum-formed lettering. A light edge plastic runs underneath the letters, taking the light from above and creating a neon effect. It has eye-catching appeal from a distance.
We supply materials that will identify product sizes. We have snap-in plastic coupon pad holders that hold the coupons at eye level, yet keeps them off the main frame of the display.
We look for ways to improve and refresh the display about every three years. We are just now introducing the 3-D header look. We also have an in-line display that we call the Identifier, that identifies the product by category and brand.
Our feelings have been you can spend a lot of money on advertising and product improvement, but the last battlefield to talk to consumers is at retail. The presence of a positive image at retail will do a lot for the brand. We want to make it an easy choice for consumers to pick Duracell.
Retailers want one big display. The space may be divided between two brands and a private label. We try to make it flexible. We take a category approach.
We give retailers the display on the basis of it helping us move our product. It involves a balance of the retailer's needs in conjunction with our likelihood of recovering the cost of the display over a reasonable period of time.
If a retailer wants us to make a modification to the display, we are very willing to create a custom display program depending on how long the display will stay in the store.
marketing manager Keebler Co.
We have racks that hold our Ready Crust pie crusts upright on the store shelf. They have been available to the trade from the time Keebler purchased the Ready Crust business back in 1980, so it has been a minimum of 15 years. We developed the present rack being used. It is a regular wire rack that has a channel built into the front. We have brand, flavor and identification cards in color that coordinate with the packaging and can slide into the channel. We have several different variations of the rack. One holds four facings; one holds a single facing. We have one to fit tart shells and a new one that fits 10-inch pie crusts. The rack design has worked well and has remained fairly unchanged over the years. The channel cards that slide into the rack and identify the product and flavor get updated with the packaging. The ones in the stores now were redesigned in 1993.
We have done some studies over the years. Merchandising the pie crusts standing up in a rack so they are very visible to the consumer has had a tremendous impact on sales. The rack was designed primarily for good visibility and exposure of the product. A secondary benefit to retailers and our broker sales force is that the product is easier to merchandise on the racks. The racks also help hold space for the item. Shelf tags can get ripped off, torn or moved. The rack gives us a permanent home.
This has been a fixture for so long, we probably don't need to sell the concept of the rack. Very few retailers don't have it. Probably 95% of the stores we sell to use the racks. Retailers understand the benefits. Ready Crust has the dominant share so they look to us as the market leader.
In many cases they look to us to provide them with racks for their private-label pie crust. Some have developed their own channel strips for the racks. We pay for the racks. Using our rack for a private-label pie crust would be a matter to be negotiated with the retailer on an account-by-account basis. If we feel it will help us or benefit us, we will try to leverage that. The racks are quite expensive. Another vendor also has racks for these type of pie crusts.
We can provide any combination of racks to fit the facings required by the store. We can tailor the kind and number of racks. Retailers perceive the racks as a tool that will help them sell more product. We see it as a vehicle that will help all of us sell more pie crust.
Another benefit to the rack display is that it provides a distinctive point of difference for our product in the baking aisle, which is often a wall of boxes.
Ann Smith senior manager, product communications
Nabisco Biscuit Co.
East Hanover, N.J.
The SnackWells rack is very new. It has been in grocery stores since June. It is a wire rack in a solid green color. Green has become synonymous with healthy versions of product. The rack has a white headboard that spans the length of the main portion of the unit. The Nabisco red roof trademark symbol is on the white header with the words, "Goodness in Snacking." It is in a large percentage of stores.
It was designed to be a permanent display where our customers could display all of the varieties of Nabisco wellness products together including all SnackWells, all 'reduced' versions of popular brands such as Oreo, Chips Ahoy!, Wheat Thins, Triscuit and Ritz, and fat-free Newtons. It is a multishelf fixture and can be shopped from all sides. The retailer can use it as a stand-alone display but it also has flexibility for the space-conscious. The side shelves can be removed to make it more narrow so it will fit in a corner or at the end of the aisle.
Retail response has been very positive. The unit is perceived as a nice way to organize the category, in keeping with category management. We have a direct-to-store sales force responsible for maintaining the racks. They visit the store weekly or sometimes several times a week and manage the display unit for our customers. They assemble it and fill it.
We help our customers know and manage the category. We have proven ourselves with point-of-purchase materials over the years, so the racks were not a hard sell. We have a good track record.
We work with one display model, but because the shelves can be removed, it can fit into various spaces.
One of the important considerations in the display design was we wanted it to communicate wellness. We wanted people to look at it and know they could find better-for-you snacking items from Nabisco there. It has a very clean design. The red triangle roof logo stands out to say this is where our products are housed. The rack also is a way of assuring us a permanent secondary display. This was meant to be value-added for the retailer. It can be placed anywhere in the store.