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Tips for designing & creating a successful POP display

It can be a real challenge for a company to get their product onto the shelves in a store, especially with all the competition. Even if they do succeed in displaying their product and getting valuable shelf space, the edge is lost when the item is lumped together with lots of similar products from competitors.

Whether you are in Walmart or your local neighborhood store, you may have noticed that a lot of the shelves are untidy and disorganized, despite efforts by store employees.

A POP display, or point of purchase display is a way of using innovative packaging techniques to keep brand equity and keep a brand competitive. If you are a manufacturer, it’s the point at which the real persuasive selling techniques kick in, as long as your display provider is doing their job, and more and more product managers are realizing the benefits of a POP display.

Most product packaging is boring and unimaginative, as a quick look around the soap aisle at your local Walmart will demonstrate. Most of us can’t read the tiny print on the different packages and other than the colors and the logo, all the products tend to look the same.

Retail Store Shelving

Crowding products on to the shelves tends to diminish the product’s value. It may also be a big box store conspiracy to make everyone be competitive on the price by quashing brand differentiation. If your product is sitting forlornly on the shelf like a lost dog waiting to be chosen, it may be time for a change of strategy.

The POPAI shopper engagement study of 2012 points out that a customer is less likely to buy your product if you aren’t making a point of displaying it. Today’s shoppers have more choice than ever, what with private labels, premium labels and organic labels. You may be losing the battle taking place on the shelving to grab the attention of customers if you are not using in store marketing. Almost one in every six brand purchases are made when that brand is present on an in store display, according to the same 2012 study. Any product that has a low price and yet is of good quality has the potential to sell well and it is obvious that many independent manufacturers just aren’t trying hard enough. After all, there is only room for so many soap brands on the shelves. It can be extremely hard to fight the power of the big brands and you cannot always rely on primary packaging selling your product for you. Your brand equity is suffering because of the situation on the shelves at the major stores.

A small packet or bottle of soap doesn’t stand much chance of standing out, especially when most consumers are price conscious. An effective POP display is one of the best ways to get your product noticed and sold in smaller boutique stores and large retail outlets. You can really get your brand message across by using POP packaging design techniques the right way.

Attract the Sleepwalking Shopper

It’s important to attract the attention of those shoppers who are shopping on autopilot, and a good POP display will do just that. However, you also need to have your display positioned in such a way that it stands out and is noticed, and in the soap category, standing out from the rest of the brands is the key. A pallet display, such as the one on the right, forces a shopper to look at the product stacked up on it and ignore the products on the shelves, although shelf displays can still attract customers. Think big and bold, something that really grabs the attention.

You can advertise your product benefits with a good POP display, as your packaging cant really do that.

In the graphic below, the tagline and SUDAFED logo are both highly visible, and the individual packages are at basket height and to the right, allowing a shopper to easily and quickly grab one.

If you want to outperform the competition, a good POP display is the way to go and if you are ready to do that, Ravenshoe Packaging can help you. Be sure to ask about a new trend that is making packaging people excited – Ready for Retail. Once you know about this, you will want to put it in place for your products.

Instead of thinking of pop packaging as boxes, think of them as being highly persuasive selling tools and persuasive packaging is one of the most important aspects of packaging design. POP can attract a shopper, persuade them to buy your product instead of the competition and can reposition your brand and give it the boost you badly need.

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Grocery Displays Targeting Male Shoppers

Research has recently shown that more men are doing the grocery shopping, according to The Wall Street Journal. In an attempt to boost sales, food companies such as General Mills and Kraft are reevaluating their packaging. Yogurts, coffees, packaged foods and other products will feature darker colors and catchy words that aim to target male shoppers. This shift in visual packaging may call for a reconfiguration of food merchandising for grocers who are also willing to delve into this experiment.

Darken the look
The first cue to take from food companies is to adopt darker colors. Look into fixtures that have a more “manly” feel and figure out a good place for them. The Mobile 5-Tier Z-Fixture Merchandiser is a great item that’s smaller and easy to move. Consider highlighting the arrival of the new packaging by filling the vessel with them. Additionally, take a look at some Expressly HUBERT® Synthetic Chalkboard Sign Panels, which will help set the darker, more masculine atmosphere.

Spread the items
It may be tempting to bring as much attention to the new products as possible by placing them all together. However, this may likely lead consumers to explore the section and not take the time to walk through the rest of the store. By having a small fixture that highlights the new items, customers are aware of the change and are encouraged to search for them. The downside to the highlight fixture may be how accessible it is. Be prepared to stock the display regularly as customers come through.

Revisit your merchandising
The Wall Street Journal also stated that it won’t just be the look of the packaging that changes, it will also be the size. This results in a reevaluation of merchandising, especially feature displays where size and color have already been configured. If you can determine when the shipment is set to arrive, you may want to set aside a few hours on the day the shipment comes in and incorporate the new items into your feature. Bring as much attention to these products as possible so that consumers are well aware of their presence and will gain interest in them.

This change in packaging is sure to garner plenty of attention from consumers. It also provides more product for grocers and their staff to work with. The introduction of these items can be a fun change for retailers and shoppers alike.

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How To Redesign Your Product Packaging

Your average supermarket carries anywhere between 15,000 and 60,000 individual products and the most people will wander through these fluorescent lit halls of consumerism is once a week and come away with at maximum 30 or 40 items.

The ecommerce environment is just as crowded, with the global B2C market topping $1 trillion for the first time in 2012. Simply typing the word ‘books’ into Amazon will yield you over 44 million search results.

While the internet has provided a potential customer base of millions for even the smallest of local businesses, the flip-side is that these businesses are elevated into a global marketplace. You may have been the only supplier of real ales in your local area, but as soon as your ecommerce site goes live you become one of the thousands and thousands of real ale companies operating around the world.

This kind of competitive environment necessitates the need for smart packaging design that both stands out from the crowd and communicates a deeper message of value about the product to potential consumers.

One of the biggest problems for established brands is the precarious balancing act of maintaining your coherence and focus as a brand while still allowing room for growth, change and modification. No brand is ever perfect and there is always likely to be people that you could appeal to more or an aspect of your message that needs to be amplified.

A risky area for any business is when the realization dawns that their current packaging is not doing as well as it should and that there is a need for a substantial redesign. If you do it well your brand will seem to have been rejuvenated with a new energy and emphasis, but get it wrong and the consequences can be extreme.

So before we get down to the nitty-gritty of how to do a successful packaging redesign, we should start off with a cautionary tale of just how extreme the effects of a poorly received redesign can be.

The Terrible Tale of the Tropicana Redesign

In 2009 Tropicana embarked on what quickly went down in recent history as a spectacularly ill-conceived product redesign, which resulted in its sales dropping by 20% and the company losing millions of dollars.

It may be surprising to some that consumers would react that negatively to a change of packaging,bombarding the company with negativity by email and social media, but that is just to underestimate the attachment people form with their favourite brands.

So just what went wrong? As it turns out, just about everything about this redesign was ill-conceived. The brand name text on the front was upside down and far less immediately noticeable, meaning that consumers had to invest a lot more time and concentration and were unlikely to have that immediate connection. The tone of voice was weird and the typography gave of the air of trying to be hip but coming off cold and corporate. The old image of a ripe, juicy orange was replaced with a stock photo of a glass of indiscriminate orange juice and the old slogan of “why does Tropicana taste so good?” is replaced with the strange sounding “drink in the spirit of the morning.”

The tide of negative reaction caused Tropicana and its parent company PepsiCo to stop the shelf the whole redesign, issue an embarrassing retraction and slink off into the corner to lick its wounds.

Pulling Off a Successful Packaging Redesign

So now we know how not to do a successful package redesign, we can turn our attention to how to successfully reinvigorate your brand while retaining a deep rooted sense of identity. Some examples of the kind of measurable success that a well thought out and implemented redesign can bring to your company are:

The first thing you are going to have to do is to let go of any unhealthy sentimentality you might have about the past and accept the bold possibilities of the future.

The second thing of upmost importance to keep in the forefront of your mind is that you have a core group of loyal customers that you absolutely must not lose. This is the biggest problem that Tropicana ran into, because not only did they not gain many new customers but they actually began to lose customers. The ultimate package redesign will not only entice new customers but will excite these loyal customers as well.

With these two factors in mind, the next thing you are going to have to turn your mind to.

Why Do You Need to Redesign Your Packaging?

Different companies and different brands are going to have different reasons for initiating a packaging redesign. It is important to establish at the start what is driving your need for a redesign, which may be one of the following:

  • Your product has changed in a way that necessitates new packaging
  • You need visual unification between different, previously distinct products
  • Your recent business performance has changed
  • New government regulations or requirements
  • Your expanding into new markets
  • Customer insights and surveys shows that your message or appearance is dated or out of touch with your core customer base or target group

Determining early on why you need to do the redesign in the first place will save a lot of Tropicana-like pain further on down the line.

Evolution or Revolution?

Once you have the reason why you are going to have to redesign your packaging, the next thing you are going to have to figure just how drastic a change you are aiming for. It comes down to the difference between instigating revolution or taking a few steps forward in evolution.

A revolutionary change means that your packaging will be a radically different beast to what it was like before, which opens you to the risk of detaching the emotional connection your core customer base has with your product (and maybe they won’t be able to recognise them on shelves).

Evolutionary change on the other hand, implies that you are simply shedding the parts of your current design that aren’t working and emphasising the parts that are working. Most of the time, you are going to want to be aiming for is evolutionary change because you want to improve the delivery of your brand message rather than simply starting again from scratch.

Undoubtedly, some situations and business climates are going to call for a revolutionary change of focus and root and branch change, but most of the time it is not going to be the whole of the your design that is the problem.

Important Things to Remember

While the actual mechanics of each individual package redesign process will depend on a number of factors that are specific to your product range, your previous design, your core and target demographics and the message you want to emphasise, there are a number of important things that you would do well to remember.

The biggest potential stumbling blocks you could face in this process are:

  • A lack of certainty which leads you to make changes that are too small and inconsequential to matter to consumers or warrant the time and effort put in
  • Making changes that are too big and result in a damaging disconnect between your product and consumers
  • Succumbing too much to “design by committee” or making decisions based on fear or the privileging of personal opinion over verifiable information and objective goals
  • Not understanding how consumers interact with your brand before you start and making decisions which have a negative effect on this
  • Instituting changes because everyone else in your industry is and simply playing follow the leader rather than taking the process seriously

The opportunities for those that get their redesign right are the prizes that come from the successful evolution of their brand, with new possibilities blooming forth, new customers discovering the benefits and a whole gaggle of new avenues for the company to travel down.

Do you have any other golden rules for achieving the tricky feat of a successful package redesign? Can you think of any big successes or failures that would serve as useful examples?

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Sep,2018

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