From hanging signs to shelf-talkers to digital screens, POS material in all its forms is one area that our C-Store Champions plan carefully
Guy Warner, Warner’s Budgens, Moreton, Broadway and Bidford-on-Avon
Guy likes to use POS that is in keeping with the Budgens theme to maintain uniformity in his store
Paul Stone, four Spar stores, Manchester
Paul hopes to expand on the technology he already operates in store to enhance the impact of his in-store advertising
Chris Pollard, Barlby Village Stores, Selby, North Yorkshire
POS material is created by Chris himself to match the promotions he tailors to his customer base
Ramesh Shingadia, Londis, Southwater, West Sussex
A wide range of POS is put to use at Ramesh’s store, where it is seen as vital to communicating to shoppers
Do you use POS material in-store?
Guy: Yes, we use a selection of different POS material to highlight specific offers, promotions or new suppliers in store.
Paul: We have all sorts. Hanging signs work best for us as we have very high ceilings. We have also introduced bus stop signs which stick out at right angles; they are really good to highlight new products, products which have won an award, or those with a £1 pricemark.
Chris: We try to use POS as much as possible. We use a lot of shelf talkers of all different sizes.
Ramesh: We use a lot of different POS including £1 shelf barkers, A3 posters, shelf talkers and shelf end displays. Using a whole range of things helps to keep each promotion unique and interesting.
Do you ever make your own or does it all come from suppliers and symbol groups?
Guy: The majority we take is from Budgens. However, we do generate quite a lot of our own and tailor it to complement that from Budgens. We create it particularly for our loyalty Taste Club as it encourages people to join the group.
Paul: We use Spar’s promotional POS a lot. But we can generate our own material on the office computer and make it look really professional.
Chris: I make a lot of my own as I come up with a lot of my own promotions. I create my own shelf talkers which feature the price and a picture of the product.
Ramesh: We use that from suppliers, Londis and our own. There is so much opportunity to make your own and Londis even have templates which we can modify for our own promotions.
Is POS material supplied by manufacturers fit for purpose?
Guy: Manufacturers’ material doesn’t tend to be as fit for purpose as that which we get from Budgens. More than 50% of it doesn’t make it to the shop floor.
Paul: We don’t use a lot of manufacturers’ POS as we generally use that from Spar. It helps to keep a level of consistency in the store. We have worked with Müller and Rustlers to improve the promotional offerings, but we take it case by case.
Chris: I don’t use manufacturers’ material; I find it’s not up to the standard of what I create myself.
Ramesh: I use it a lot. It’s great for highlighting certain products. The recent Cadbury’s display POS material has been brilliant. It has made a big statement.
Do you think POS material helps you to sell more?
Guy: Yes, however it does depend on the type of material. POS helps to set a tone and says what a deal is. Many customers need promotions spelt out to them, clearly and concisely, and it’s that which gets the sales.
Paul: Definitely, it’s eye-catching and draws people’s attention.
Chris: There’s no doubt about it. POS really helps to draw the customer’s attention. Putting up posters isn’t enough; customers may miss them or forget about them by the time they reach the promotion.
Ramesh: Without a shadow of doubt; POS is a retailer’s way of marketing to customers. It helps to send out a message; it adds value and it is key to communicating all the different promotions.
What are examples of good POS material?
Guy: Good POS is simple and clear. Customers don’t have a great deal of time so it needs to grab their attention. Depending on what a retailer is trying to sell depends on the type of POS they use. Singular POS is better for new products or promotions. Larger displays are better for a large launch or special deal which runs across a lot of products.
Paul: Big and bold promotional material which is also simple and clear is best. When a brand offers a customer the chance to win something if they buy its product that can be a real driver for sales.
Chris: I find the best POS material has pictures on it. Most of the time, shelf-talkers take up a lot more space on the shelf than the product and customers can become confused about which product is in the promotion. This is why I always make sure my material has a picture of the product on it. Ramesh: POS which really highlights a single area in a shop, such as our promotional end bay.
What type of POS material doesn’t work?
Guy: Complicated and busy pos doesn’t work as customers don’t have time to stand and read lots of different signs.
Paul: POS which doesn’t stay on the fixtures is very annoying. The shelf labels we use in our new store, which are put on hooks, are always falling off when customers brush past them and it looks so untidy.
Chris: Shelf-edge wobblers are my pet hate. They are untidy, and the double-sided tape used to stick them to the shelves leaves marks.
Ramesh: I think most POS material does work, otherwise it wouldn’t be available. For it to work it needs to be prominent, relevant, display a clear message and show a level of consistency throughout the store.
How frequently do you change the look of fixtures?
Guy: We have a three-weekly promotion cycle. These run along seasonal themes such as Christmas, spring and summer, but also occasions such as Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, too.
Paul: Each promotion lasts for three weeks, but we change a different section once a week. It keeps the promotions fresh and draws the customer into one specific area.
Chris: Nisa changes its promotions every three weeks and I cherry pick the best offers. Similarly, if something is working really well I will order in a month’s worth while it is on at the promotional price. With each new promotion comes new POS material.
Ramesh: We change the Londis products which are on promotion every three weeks. We also change fixtures seasonally. It is important to get the look just right.
Who is responsible for POS/in-store displays?
Guy: It’s all hands on deck; staff take on a specific role in each store. Of course, management has the overall say and makes sure everything is working together, but it is second nature to us now.
Paul: It is generally down to the manager and assistant manager. The staff know that on a Thursday the changeover of POS needs to happen and so the priority lies with whomever is on shift at the time.
Chris: I do it all myself. I’m pretty fussy when it comes to getting the display right. I’ll usually sort the front of the display and once I’m happy with it the staff will fill in the rest of the products.
Ramesh: There are three people who look after the displays: we have someone in charge of incremental sales - they need to set the price changes and make sure the products scan through properly; another person is in charge of category management, discontinuing old promotions and adding in the new ones; and then someone else, usually me, checks it all over.
What have been your most successful displays?
Guy: Budgens’ meal for tonight offering which allows customers to dine in for a specific price. Customers can buy a main, side and dessert for a promotional price. To highlight this we use a great deal of POS. We created a bay just for the selected foods and put POS all around it. This really helped to champion the quality of the product.
Paul: The Shop and Win promotion which used a lot of bold and pink POS was great. It was really eye-catching as you rarely see that colour used in convenience store advertisements.
Chris: Any confectionery products we have running on the £1 pricemark promotion seem to fly out. Also the beers and wines which I put my own promotional prices on sell really well with POS which offers a four-pack for less. It encourages people to buy them over the single cans.
Ramesh: Easter was brilliant for us. Our display definitely helped to drive sales. We made a huge front window display which influences people right away. The Easter theme also carried on throughout the store.
Do you use external marketing as well?
Guy: We distribute leaflets every three weeks in conjunction with our promotional changeover. They go out with the Royal Mail and it really helps to spread the word of our latest in-store offers.
Paul: We use leaflets for marketing, but we rarely post them through doors as they don’t seem to work so well in such a busy city centre. We find handing out leaflets on the streets, with permission from the council, works better for us as people actually look at the leaflets.
Chris: We distribute leaflets supplied by Nisa every three weeks. They highlight the promotions currently in store, but only those selected by Nisa, not my own.
Ramesh: We drop leaflets around the village every three weeks and around the same time we change our promotional offers so the customers are aware of what’s new. We also have them by the tills to give out to passing customers.
Is there a digital element to your marketing?
Guy: Our Taste Club loyalty program is totally online, and we also use Facebook. However, we use this more to build customer loyalty, show that we support the community, rather than throwing promotions around. Facebook for us is about building our brand.
Paul: We have Facebook pages for the stores, but we don’t use them anywhere near enough as we should. It’s something we need to focus on. A lot of Spar’s produce is backed by TV advertising and if we were to post a product ‘as seen on TV’ it could boost the promotion even further.
Chris: I don’t use any form of social media. It could work for us, but right now I don’t think it is something the village would benefit from. We are well known and have a lot of elderly customers who prefer to get our promotions on paper. I also think that with all the time I give to sorting the POS I just wouldn’t have time to run the page properly.
Ramesh: We have a Facebook page which is great for talking to our customers. We can tell them what is happening in store, about our new promotions, and it helps us to build customer loyalty. Promotion via Facebook also allows us to reach a different market.
Do you use any technology to enhance your marketing?
Guy: We have media screens by the till points which display our current promotions and highlight our reward cards. Integrated with POS, this works really well to draw in the customer.
Paul: We have the bigDL beacon which pushes notifications to anyone with the app walking past the store. We also have media screens in store, too. In the future I can see us getting more technology, such as large screens, actually in the windows.
Chris: I paid for a screen from Camelot to promote the National Lottery, and I always have the in-store radio on, supplied by Nisa. This plays music, but also makes announcements of the latest offers on in store.
Ramesh: We have screens which highlight our promotions. They change depending on the time of day, showing different offers depending on the time. Screens have a greater visual impact. We used to have the Londis Radio which played advertisements, but this is currently under review. We would really like to see this come back.