Over the years, the rise of point of purchase (POP) displays has been well documented. Getting POP right instore can be the making of a brand, and it can be more cost effective than TV and press advertising.
As part of POPAI UK & Ireland’s Grocery Display Effectiveness Study, a three year analysis of seven million shopper interactions in Tesco, Asda, and The Co-operative, it was found that the typical UK supermarket averages 20,000 items of display or promotional messages.
Shoppers can’t, and indeed don’t, attempt to look at and read every message. Indeed, most shopping is performed in autopilot mode. However, shoppers will change to manual control when a display grabs their attention.
Four metrics for POP effectiveness
New metrics were developed by POPAI to measure if a POP display is effective or not. The result is a method of performance evaluation similar to that used by above the line advertising.
1. Impact ratio: A measure of the number of shoppers who look at a display as a ratio of the total number of shoppers who had the opportunity to see it.
2. Engagement ratio: The number of people who look at a display and then go on to interact with the display or product prior to making a purchase decision.
3. Conversion ratio: The ratio of shoppers who look at a display, engage with it, and go on to purchase the product.
4. Lost conversion ratio: A critical measure of the extent to which a shopper looks and engages with a product but then returns it to the display.
The preliminary research findings
Unsurprisingly, the research shows that POP effectiveness is specific to the application, product, and brand. It also identifies that displays featuring or simulating movement have a greater impact.
Researchers are keen to reinforce the long held view that retailers have a crucial role to play. The focus by many retailers on achieving uniformity of display instore is potentially damaging and restricts the opportunities for conversion.
“The research clearly shows that if the same approach is applied too often, you no longer achieve impact,” says Martin Kingdon, director general of POPAI UK & Ireland. “It highlights the importance of being able to change graphics or re-dress displays to keep them fresh.”
Additionally, shoppers are faced with a growing number of different POP messages being targeted at them and they’re becoming increasingly aware of this.
For many, the volume can lead to a mental state of actively choosing to deselect or filter out much of the communication; only engaging with brands, promotions, and messages that they view as personally relevant.
More specific POP variables
Most shoppers at first appear to be attracted to displays because of messaging promoting new products, value, or savings (5.17 per cent impact ratio). Yet this driver becomes less clear when analysed on the basis of which type of message actually engages shopper.
Price reduction (36.9 per cent) and quantity discount/multi-buy (34.5 per cent) all delivered a lower engagement ratio than POP displays which focused on promoting extra free product (50 per cent), competitions (50 per cent) and discount vouchers (41.7 per cent).
This suggests the use of price promotion does not automatically translate to a more engaging proposition for shoppers, with alternatives to price perhaps actually proving more beneficial.
A notable exception to this, however, is the combination of new product promotion linked to a price reduction (50 per cent engagement ratio). A popular promotion with marketeers; it appears this is still highly effective.
Quantity discounts fare less favourably when it comes to conversion. 60 per cent of shoppers purchased items from POP displays promoting extra free product, while quantity discount/multi buy messaging was 46 per cent.
Gender can have a key role to play. For example, clearance messaging is marginally more effective at creating impact amongst female shoppers (3.95 per cent) than male (3.80 per cent). Females (63 per cent) are also more likely to purchase off messaging about extra free product than men (50 per cent).
At the all-important conversion phase, however, there was little bias. The combination of price reduction and quantity discount messaging was similar for male (55.48 per cent) and female (55 per cent) shoppers.
When it comes to successfully combining the two elements – display type and message – the research suggests that some caution should be exercised when making decisions.
“Simply bringing together the top ranking display and message type is not a formula for ensuring success,” says Kingdon.
“A shelf fin may score well for impact when carrying only product branding, but as soon as it is combined with a price message, its impact may be altered.”
This report is an Inside Shopper exclusive extract from the POPAI (UK & Ireland) Grocery Display Effectiveness Study 2013. To access this full report, please click here or contact POPAI (Australia & NZ) on (02) 9938 5150.
This story is part of Inside Retails new shopper marketing newsbrief, Inside Shopper. Click here to subscribe.