Let’s start with the punchline: Position Matters. We’re huge advocates of creating authentic, highly differentiated, and inspiring custom retail displays. However, the greatest display in the world will fail to meet sales expectations if it is not in the right position (i.e., location) in a retail store.
The power of position is an indisputable life truth. Position matters. Consider the following:
● The top position on a Google organic search garners 33% of the traffic compared to 18% for the second position. The top search result gets 6 times the traffic of the 5th position and ten times the traffic of the tenth position.
● The men’s and women’s Wimbledon singles champions in 2016 each received 2£ million vs. 1£ million for the runner up.
● Studies show that the first 3 dishes offered in a self-serve buffet account for two-thirds of the contents of a patron’s plate.
● On average CEOs earn about 204 times more than the median workers earn in their companies.
When it comes to the location of a display in a retail store, the old real estate adage applies: “location, location, location.” Many of our customers put a great deal of thought into the look and feel of their POP display but give little consideration to the location of the display in the store. Admittedly, in many cases the specific location of the display may be out of their control and completely dictated by the retailer. However, with the right preparation and a persuasive argument, you might be surprised at your ability to change a retailer’s thinking on a plan-o-gram or you might get creative and come up with something outside of the parameters of the plan-o-gram.
Just last week, one of our customers said they were unsure if they were going to get counter space for a counter display, space within the locking glass counter, a freestanding floor display, or a full or partial endcap. That’s quite a range to consider, and sales could vary dramatically according to which position they secure. In this particular case, we told them that they might as well slit their throat if their product gets locked up in a poorly serviced or unattended glass case.
Even if you can convince a retailer to give you the opportunity for a freestanding floor display, the question is where will it be placed? Will you be pushed to the back of the store in a dimly lit, lightly trafficked area? Or will you be positioned for walk-around traffic in the front of the store. Using the same display, you could see a 2-fold or even a 5-fold difference in sales depending on which location you secure.
Being thoughtful and strategic about the location decision is important. Do your homework. Make sure you understand the layout of the store. Analyze your competition. Know what your product has to offer, where it fits best, and what makes it different from competing or substitute products.
An example of a company that has strategically navigated the location decision is Ouhlala Gourmet. The company produces a line of healthy, convenient fruit and vegetable snacks in squeezable pouches under the Buddy Fruits and Fruit Break brands. The company’s product line has experienced rapid growth over the last several years, as has the entire healthy snack food category. Ouhlala Gourmet has benefitted from a strong inline presence in grocery stores, but in recent years the growth in the category has resulted in increased competition, including a number of large food companies with sizable promotional budgets. Knowing they could not outspend these larger competitors, the company opted for off-shelf placement in grocery stores’ produce departments. Getting out of the inline rat race and creating an upscale image through well-appointed freestanding fixtures has proven to be an excellent way to differentiate the company’s product from its competition. The dump bin we made for them is shown below.
Before you make an investment in a display program, find out what your options are for store placement. See what kind of commitment you can get from the retailer, and be sure to factor the location into your sales projections since different locations will impact sales in different ways as we have discussed. If your display has wheels, make sure you understand if it is going to be moved around to different departments. Try to get a feel for how compliant store managers are to the plan-o-gram since store managers in some retailers have considerable latitude to depart from the corporate plan-o-gram and implement their own merchandising ideas. You may not be able to control the location of your display as much as you would like, but raising the visibility of the location issue with retailer and monitoring it as much as possible will help you generate the best results.