Managing POP Compliance
If store personnel fail to display promotional elements correctly, the anticipated sales lift will evaporate. Many retailers claim concerns about poor execution of in-store marketing programs force them to simplify their campaigns to the point of ineffectiveness: for example, they run the same promotions in all of their sites despite the widely varying marketing objectives from one store to the next.POP execution can be one of the most frustrating elements of a retail marketing program. Retail marketing professionals invest enormous amounts of energy into developing promotions with their vendors, designing the marketing collateral and developing campaign budgets. But the return on these efforts is completely dependent on the execution of the campaign at the store-level.
There are a number of traditional approaches that managers can take to improve POP execution at the store-level: include instruction on POP in employee training programs, conduct frequent store rides to verify execution of POP and provide compensation incentives to employees for proper execution of POP. But, to effectively drive purchases at the store level, marketing professionals need to focus on the key challenges to executing POP programs in stores:
Send the stores the POP they need… and nothing else. If the store is not promoting bottled water, do not send the store a bottled water sign. If the store only has space for two window signs, do not send the store 10 window signs. Every extra sign is an opportunity for erred execution. There is no better way to eliminate confusion about which POP to display at the store level than to eliminate overage.
Develop a POP policy which clearly states who can display POP, what POP can be displayed, and when POP should be displayed. Store personnel are bombarded with POP from vendors, from different category managers and from operations. If marketing wants to use POP to drive their sales plan, they must clearly define the rules for POP and communicate them to category managers, store managers and their vendors.
Once you have ensured that store personnel understand which POP can be displayed, make sure that they also know how to properly display it. Many retailers use “Sales Planners” or “Placement Guides” which provide illustrated instructions on how to install POP and in which locations to install it. Such visual tools take time to develop but can dramatically improve execution. Equally important to making sure that store managers get the right signs is making sure that they hang them in the right spot.
Build a Marketing Culture
Store personnel, who report to operations rather than marketing, sometimes regard their contribution to the store’s marketing effort as secondary to operational tasks such as stocking, reporting and cleaning. Retail marketers can change this perception by better communicating their sales goals to the field. Store managers need to understand the link between “hanging signs” and “driving sales.”
Retail marketers understand that POP programs, when properly executed, can dramatically increase store sales and profits. POP can drive store traffic, boost targeted categories and improve the store’s brand image. Marketers who simplify their POP marketing campaigns to overcome store-level execution issues are missing an opportunity to improve the store’s bottom line. The focus should never be to make it easy for store managers, but rather to make store managers understand what will sell.