Nowadays with advertising proliferating everywhere, there are ads on checkout line conveyor belts, large ad stickers on flooring, and mini-ads on shopping carts, on gas pumps, to mention a few.
I recently picked up a copy of P-O-P Times, a publication of the In-Store Marketing Institute. Most of the editorial covers point-of-purchase products that retailers can use on their shelves or in the aisles. Nice, creative, sturdy hardware that can probably withstand the bangs and mishaps in a store. Designed to catch the eye and free the impulse genie in all of us.
However, fundamentally, they are just “push,” and while engineered to generate sales, they are not engineered to generate other useful data.
How much more simple cardboard and wire-frame “push” products are the B2B suppliers going to give the retailers? Where’s the technology? Of course, retail is cutthroat and every square foot of shelf and floor space impacts margins, but a huge window of opportunity is being neglected. The customer is there, looking at a product and you don’t know who he or she is. You don’t know squat. And almost 44 pages of P-O-P Times tells you squat.
I said “almost.” There was a small glued-in insert in the August 2007 issue entitled the “In-Store Marketing Institute UPDATE” that actually features some interesting products that B2Bs are offering retailers. Scansave distributes POP promotional coupons and optimizes offerings based on activity. It can customize coupons based on survey responses and has removable CD-ROM, memory card, or USB flash drive capability so rack jobbers can change promotions. (when will this be networked?)
So realizing that I may have a misunderstanding of the POP industry, I looked more into the magazine and found out about their upcoming In-Store Marketing Expo in September. A smile came to my face when I saw an exhibitor list. I realized that the POP industry is getting smart. A small section called the “Digital Signage Pavilion” is in the middle of the trade show floor. A better name might be “Interactive Signage Pavilion.”
There will be a small but diverse and interesting range of C4ISR Marketing solutions for retailers there and I’m happy to say that there will be more of it in years to come. Companies like Barix Technology, GestureTek, Outermesh, and VideoMining will be helping retailers get more out of their customers in terms of data and sales, and those that take advantage of these solutions will have a significant strategic advantage over those that don’t.
Data gathering at the point-of-purchase holds great potential for Marketers. The B2B vendors that sell to the B2C retailers need to push the envelope on this one. With time, the data mining payoff will be compelling, especially with a Net-Centric marketing architecture. If you go to this show in Chicago, make it a point to visit their booths.