The (not so) great point of sale debate

point of sale


This article by XOXX’s Guy Blaskey was originally published in Over The Counter Magazine.

There is a bit of a debate going on at the moment in the world of point of sale (POS). Considering the gravity of certain events around the world it seems odd to say debate, but none the less there is a debate. As with any debate there are two sides.

In this case these are the 2 sides. Side 1 says that POS is about promotions; getting people buy your product instead of a competitors, as it is on offer. Side 2, the more modern, radical side says that it is about building an emotional connection with your customers to get them to buy. The one thing that everyone is agreed on is that the job of POS is to get people to buy. That is good at least.

Even ‘in the know’ publications, with access to the people behind some of the highest-budget marketing campaigns seem spilt on this. In the August 2nd issue of The Grocer there is an article about using emotion in POS to build brand and sales in store. They have great case studies, including McVities using pictures of cute puppies and kittens on their in-store POS, leading to a 5% growth in sales. A week later the same publication has an article saying that it is pointless to use emotion to sell. That ‘we like a product because we buy it, we don’t buy it because we like it’ i.e. emotion comes after the sale.

The ex-MD of Waitrose told me that most companies waste too much money on advertising and PR, when they should be spending it in-store on promotions and POS. At the same time the founders of brands like Jimmy’s Iced Coffee and Fevertree, who do very well in the same stores, say that they don’t do any on-shelf promotional activity, as they don’t want to cheapen their brands.

The right way, I think, depends like many things on product, price, place and promotion. If you have other ways to drive trial of products (Jimmy’s and Fevertree can do free sampling, for example) then you don’t have to discount on-shelf. If your product is very similar to other products, in a similar place, and you are limited on other promotional opportunities then price, or price promotions, are one of the only avenues left for you.

Whichever way you go, one thing is for sure. You need to give a customer a reason to pick a product, if you want them to buy it. And if you want to see a good example of a POS unit email me and I will send you a photo of the new Pooch & Mutt POS units, developed to display our new foods.