In 2012, Austrian Felix Baumgartner stood on the rugged terrain of Eastern New Mexico and gazed into the sky. No amount of military training would prepare him for what he was about to do. Baumgartner boarded a helium balloon and ascended to an altitude of 127,852 feet or more than 24 miles above the earth’s surface. He then did the unimaginable. He jumped out of the helium balloon in what became the highest skydive in history. Baumgartner was in freefall for 4 minutes and 19 seconds, reaching a speed of 844 miles per hour and becoming the first human to break the sound barrier outside of a vehicle. With so many unknowns, only a daredevil like Baumgartner would attempt such a risky feat. Welcome to today’s post on how to reduce the risk of your POP display program in order to maximize your return on investment.
Many brands look at POP displays as a cost or a necessary expense that must be incurred to secure distribution in most brick-and-mortar stores. However, enlightened brands understand that POP displays are really an investment rather than a cost. Like any investment, there are inherent risks which, if properly managed, can lead to a higher return on investment. Let’s look at the first 5 of 10 most common risks and discuss what you can do to manage them. In Part II of this series, we’ll explore the other 5 risks.
1. Design Risk– This category of risk encompasses a wide range of factors, all of which are extremely important in creating a winning POP display. Designing a display that fits into a retailer’s décor but stands out from the competition is just one element of great design.
Many companies underinvest in their POP displays, and as a result, end up with something very generic or so ordinary that they fail to catch the attention of the consumer. Other companies make the mistake of overinvesting in a display and end up with a merchandiser that looks great but is too expensive relative to the total retail value of the product it is trying to sell. The best way to mitigate design risk is to work with an experienced POP display company and to have a clear set of objectives and budget for your program.
2.Freight Damage Risk– Freight damage is sadly too common in the world of POP displays. The combination of poorly packed displays and apathetic freight handlers is deadly. The probability of successfully being reimbursed for damage caused by a careless freight company is extremely low. Few customers understand or appreciate the true costs related to packaging materials that will ensure their POP displays arrive to customers safely.
Freight damage risk can be managed by carefully reviewing the packing plan during the display design process, incorporating things like drop tests in the quality assurance process, utilizing carriers that have a reputation for delivering goods safely, and working with POP display companies that have experience in shipping and logistics.
3.Deployment Risk– By deployment risk we mean the risk of your display never making it onto the retail floor. There could be a number of reasons for this. First, your display might get lost in transit or get damaged and become unusable as discussed above. If you a planning a large rollout, it is often advisable to order some extra displays in the event of the likely case of some displays getting lost or damaged.
Another reason your display might not make it onto the retail floor is that some large retailers grant greater decision-making autonomy to local store managers. If a store manager decides that he or she wants to start enforcing a clean floor policy or if they think your display takes up too much floor space or interferes with their line of sight, your display might get relegated to collecting dust in the back or ending up in the dumpster. Managing this risk means ensuring your display has a tight footprint and is not too tall as well as talking with a representative group of store managers to identify potential issues is always a good idea.
- Piracy Risk– It is not uncommon for a company to invest in a display only to find that another brand has hijacked the display and is using it to merchandise their products. It is a good idea to get a retailer’s commitment to not allow this, but it also makes sense to permanently brand your fixture by printing your logo directly on one or more of the structural elements of the display to discourage others from taking it over. The Kavu display shown below is just one simple example.
- Performance Risk– If a retailer grants you floor space, they will expect your display to perform. Most retailers carefully track the sales velocity of your product, and if your product falls short of expectations, it is likely that after some period of time your program will not continue. Managing this risk not only involves good upfront market research to make sure your product is a good fit with the retailer’s customer base, but it also might mean focusing on your best-selling SKUs instead of offering your full product line. In addition, investing in designing a great display can help ensure maximum sell-through.
Given the impact it can have on results, risk management should be part of any POP display program. Be sure to check out Part II of this series in which we will discuss the other 5 risk factors and what you can do to manage them.
Jim Hollen is the owner and President of RICH LTD. (www.richltd.com), a 35+ year-old California-based point-of-purchase display, retail store fixture, and merchandising solutions firm which has been named among the Top 50 U.S. POP display companies for 9 consecutive years. A former management consultant with McKinsey & Co. and graduate of Stanford Business School, Jim has served more than 3000 brands and retailers over more than 20 years and has authored nearly 500 blogs and e-Books on a wide range of topics related to POP displays, store fixtures, and retail merchandising.
Jim has been to China more than 50 times and has worked directly with more than 30 factories in Asia across a broad range of material categories, including metal, wood, acrylic, injection molded and vacuum formed plastic, corrugated, glass, LED lighting, digital media player, and more. He also oversees RICH LTD.’s domestic manufacturing operation and has experience manufacturing, sourcing, and importing from numerous Asian countries as well as Vietnam and Mexico.
His experience working with brands and retailers spans more than 25 industries such as food and beverage, apparel, consumer electronics, cosmetics/beauty, sporting goods, automotive, pet, gifts and souvenirs, toys, wine and spirits, home improvement, jewelry, eyewear, footwear, consumer products, mass market retail, specialty retail, convenience stores, and numerous other product/retailer categories.