Beverages On Display
By JENNIFER KOROLISHIN
Point-of-purchase materials reinforce branding
After pouring millions of dollars into advertising and promotions, beverage companies’ moment of truth occurs at retail, where consumers are faced with choosing from hundreds of brands.
That reality makes point-of-purchase materials a critical part of beverage marketing strategies.
“The war is really going to be won at the store level,” says John Woods, director of sales for Display Industries, a Norcross, Ga.-based provider of stock and customized point-of-purchase displays. “Studies show that consumers make a buying decision in as few as five seconds when they’re in front of your category. You don’t have someone’s attention very long in order to make an impact.”
Beverage P.O.P. materials take various forms, from permanent displays — typically metal shelving or end-caps — to semi-permanent displays made from injection-molded plastic or corrugated materials, to signage used everywhere from outdoors to cooler doors. Often used to support new product rollouts, P.O.P. is increasingly part of multi-brand strategies, as displays can be designed to hold multiple types and sizes of product.
“We’re seeing a shift from permanent displays to semi-permanent,” Woods says. “With the proliferation of new brands, shelf space is getting pretty tight, so secondary and tertiary displays are becoming quite popular, many of which are semi-permanent in nature,”
Signage is also a large component of P.O.P. efforts, particularly for the soft drink category and the convenience store channel, where outdoor signage is used to bring customers into the store, and cooler door signage encourages single-serve consumers to select specific brands.
“One of the trends in signage is applying technology to create light and movement,” says Bobbie Shosty, marketing director for May Advertising, a Fort Worth, Texas-based screen printer and metal sign fabricator. “We’re launching a decal with LED technology inside of it. You can apply it to the cooler door and it flashes to get the consumer’s attention.”
P.O.P. placement varies by channel. Grocery stores are branching out beyond the beverage aisle, spreading P.O.P. throughout the store. Convenience store P.O.P. tends to focus on the cold vault. It is also appearing more often in drug stores as that channel expands its selection of convenience and grocery products. In all channels, P.O.P. placement depends on the floor space granted by the retailer.
“There have been many studies showing that if you take a product off the shelf and move it into a display in the same aisle, it increases your sales,” says David May, national accounts manager for Florence, Ky.-based Lingo Manufacturing Co. Inc., which designs and manufactures custom permanent P.O.P. displays. “If you move it to the end of an aisle, it increases sales even more, and if you can place it by the register or another secondary location, you’re adding to the potential sales lift.”
As beverage industry competition intensifies, P.O.P. manufacturers are developing innovative ways to draw consumer attention before the point of sale. “These newer types of P.O.P. are a way to call attention to your product because, let’s face it, when somebody goes to the cooler to buy a bottled water, how many people are focused on a specific brand?” says Gil Aviles, co-founder of Kent, Conn.-based Crew Design Inc., which designs and produces P.O.P. advertising displays, signage and fixtures. “If you have something that’s really calling attention to your brand, you have a good shot at getting the sale.”
To that end, Crew Design released its “Visistrobe” product last year to promote single-serve beverages. Created originally for Mountain Dew, Visistrobe contains a battery-operated infrared sensor. Placed inside the cooler, it detects motion and triggers a blinking light that makes the beverage appear to glow.
Brand and category play important roles in the type of P.O.P. beverage-makers choose. Soft drink companies tend to focus more on signage, while wine and spirits companies, with lower volume and higher price points, are more inclined to invest in permanent and more elaborate displays. For example, Lingo Manufacturing recently created a Whaler’s Rum display that incorporates a surfboard look, reflecting the brand’s tropical image.
In choosing P.O.P., beverage-makers balance practicality with marketing factors. While signage and displays are meant to reinforce a brand’s message, P.O.P. must also be durable and appropriate for conditions. “The first question our salesperson will ask a client is ‘What’s the application? Is it outdoor, indoor, permanent, semi-permanent, temporary?’” Shosty says.
Budget constraints are also taken into account in deciding on P.O.P. strategy and execution. “When it comes to our beverage business, cost is always an issue. We design around cost,” Aviles says. “A lot of the products we produce, like our pop-up line, ship in very small boxes because often with big displays, people are paying more to ship the units than they are for the actual unit.”
As new beverage brands proliferate, P.O.P. will continue to play a key role for a number of reasons. “One thing displays do is they really increase impulse buys. The other thing is that you spend all this money on other advertising, but you get the most bang for your buck at the point of purchase,” May says. “A nice display does a couple of things for you. It brings attention to the product, and it gives consumers the impression that it must be a premium, reputable brand to have its own space in the store. It says something about how you’re investing in your product.” BI