The following article was written by Sanjeev Kumar, Director of IT Development. It was first published in Retail Design World.
In an increasingly competitive environment, brands within the retail space are under more pressure than ever to ensure they are engaging their customers effectively.
In-store is a key consumer touchpoint, but it’s not guaranteed that a customer will make a purchase just because they’ve entered a store. In-store displays remain a critical part of this engagement process in helping to drive customers through the purchase journey, encourage additional spend and increase dwell time. This is particularly vital amidst the frequent interruptions brought about by the growth of digital challenges; creating a compelling and enjoyable experience is crucial.
The challenge comes in understanding how to achieve the greatest value from POS displays. In the post-recession world budgets remain tight. Each department is under pressure to prove delivery of increased ROI and being commercially smart is critical.
Of course, brands must ensure they invest enough to promote offers and products efficiently but they also need to beware of going over budget, being left with excess collateral or detracting from high quality customer service.
It comes down to enabling the seamless sharing of data insights between specific stores and the brand itself. When brands run multiple campaigns across multiple retailers at once, specifications will undoubtedly differ. For example, printed material for a promotion in a store in Manchester will need to display a different currency to that of one in Dublin. Failure to take this into account will result in wasted materials and extra costs to reprint and transport back to the retailer.
Investing in campaign management systems gives businesses the capability to organise data efficiently, so it is held in one place, accessible and easily updated in real time. Crucially, it can be put in place to touch every aspect of the marketing cycle, from initial briefing of the creative at the start of a campaign to ensuring displays are removed at the end of a promotion. The positive impact this can be seen in relation to budgets, sustainability and efficiency across the business as a whole.
With a substantial proportion of POS material being thrown away unused there’s clearly a need for brands to take greater control over their processes and gain an accurate view of marketing from the outset. Campaign management systems allow an up-to-date profile of each store, so the correct volumes of POS material can be printed and dispatched. This takes size, lay out and location of shops into account, provided through automated profiles that those in-store update regularly. This reduces waste and enables tighter control over budgets.
With central automation, approvals on materials can be achieved a lot faster. So if a store decides to run a last minute weekend promotion on BBQs in response to forecast sunny weather, brands are in a far stronger position to get the correct materials created, approved and into stores, preventing them for missing out on sales opportunities.
When materials are ready to be taken to stores, brands can use automated systems to run live tracking of couriers, arrival of the material and the correct installation of each individual element. Store colleagues can upload photos of displays to document that they are compliant. For promotional material that requires health and safety instructions, this is particularly important to avoid incurring fines, or worse.
Should material arrive damaged, the retailer can simply request replacement via the system. When it comes time for a promotion to finish, the system alerts shops to remove displays. This is as important as getting displays right in the first place, as failure could see a retailer prosecuted for false advertising, which has financial implications.
In maximising the opportunities that technological advances offer, brands can be assured that each promotion is compliant and making the most of the in-store environment to engage consumers in the right way. Campaign management systems enable the seamless exchange of information, making processes more time and cost efficient, so the focus can return to delivering the best possible brand experience to the consumer.