pos compliance guide
Up to 75% of purchase decisions are made
at the point of purchase...
Therefore as consumers are apparently
approaching the shelf with such an open
mind, brands have an enormous opportunity
to jump off the shelf and into the basket!
What better way to do so than to be the most visible brand on the
shelf? An enticing offer, creatively displayed on a suite of
innovative POS would surely sway the consumer towards your
brand, wouldn’t it?
Up to 40% of POS never see’s the light of day!
Not only that, but...
Up to 50% of store managers do not comply fully with briefs
supplied for implementation of POS in-store.
I know, you’re thinking that can’t be true! Clearly the POS that you
have lovingly invested so much time, energy and money into has
not been wasted, has it? Surely, store managers are not blind to
the value of POS in uplifting sales, are they?
To be fair, store managers can only work with what they are given,
and dressing the shelves as nicely as you had intended is not as
straightforward as you might think!
POS Compliance is about getting the basics
right: ensuring product availability and
poor retailer - supplier
visibility, selecting the most appropriate form communication...
of promotional implementation, clear display
... About expected sales uplift for accurate stock and sales
of pricing, and making sure in-store displays
are correctly and appropriately placed.
... About promotional detail,
POS Compliance is not just a task, and responsibility for achieving
... About what POS will be provided & how the store will be
it does not rest on the shoulders of the store manager. Rather,
achieving POS Compliance is a process, and it is one in which
the brand, the retailer and the POS supplier all play a part. ... About required stock levels & frequency of restocking.
All parties should be actively engaged and committed to working
towards achieving the highest possible rate of POS Compliance in- production/distribution...
Unclear labelling of POS - installers cannot find/are unaware of
Getting it right is not straightforward either. There are a lot of POS suite
pitfalls along the way which can seriously compromise the
Late delivery of POS - less time in store to impact on sales
implementation or effectiveness of your POS and the resulting
return on investment you would expect from it. Coordination with stock delivery - lack of stock makes POS
Some of the main barriers to compliance are as follows:
Damage in transit - POS cannot be implemented
Quality of POS - poor print quality compromises brand’s impact on
Size/footprint of POS - too big for use in-store Inadequate kitting elements - compromises impact of POS in store
Inappropriate materials - not durable enough
Inappropriate design - does not fit on shelf implementation...
Lack of innovation - low impact on the consumer Motivating merchandisers - why should they comply?
Overly-complicated implementation - too difficult/time Instructions for use - making it easy to comply
consuming to get right
Staffing levels - who has time to merchandise & ensure sufficient
...If it works, HOW WELL, and if it does not, WHY NOT?
>>the brief & managing
the design process
Whether you’re a retailer or a brand owner, Appropriately detailed - Enough information to understand the
you no doubt are faced with ever-increasing brand and its objectives, but not so much as to blind the designer
competition and sales performance or mask the true objectives.
expectations. With the demise of the Celtic
Simply written - Designers and marketers are different animals
Tiger, this challenge still has to be met,
and they don’t use the same language. A brief is really a set of
although probably with dwindling budgets!
instructions, not a sales tool, so use of acronyms and marketing
So how do you achieve that “WOW!” factor, with minimal cost?
terms should be minimal.
As a brand owner, it’s important to remember that while your retail
Include practical information - If you need an SEL (shelf edge
customers are looking for innovation and impact, they each have
label) strip, what are the product dimensions and how many
guidelines that must be adhered to. So, to avoid unnecessary
facings do you have? If you need an FSDU (free standing display
design or print cost and wasted POS, it is important to ensure
unit), how much product should it hold? If you need shelf
from the outset that the retailers’ requirements are met when
defenders, what height is the shelf?
developing your creative brief. As a result, your print & design
costs will be kept to a minimum, your critical path adhered to and Convay a budget - Communicate this at the outset, so that
your chances of achieving compliance at the implementation stage realistic options can be quickly identified and unnecessary cost
are maximised. can be avoided.
Things to look out for include your footprint allowance (height Set the critical path - To maximise your rate of POP compliance,
and floor/shelf size restrictions), material specifications and a critical path is well... critical! If you don’t leave sufficient time
co-branding guidelines or perhaps the retailer will only accept for design of your Christmas, Easter or Halloween POS, you run
retail ready units. the risk of compromising its effectiveness or having less face-time
with the consumer than your competitor! Discuss your critical path
the better the brief, the better with the designer/printer well in advance and agree timings on
each stage from brief to delivery.
the result Other information - Any mandatory content such as legal lines,
You want to be sure that your POS designers and manufacturers corporate guidelines, etc. as well as information about the target
understand the barriers to compliance that you face getting your audience should be clearly stated.
POS placed in-store, so it’s important to get the brief right from
the word go. It is useful for your designers and printers if you mention any
compliance issues you have had in the past - perhaps they can
From our experience at The Printed Image, the best design briefs suggest a new format, merchandising mechanic or material that
are all: will overcome this for you!
Clear & concise - Objectives and creative considerations clearly
>>the importance of brand-retailer
Compliance in-store depends on a strong two which other stores are likely to face at the full roll-out stage.
way relationship between brand managers Feedback from these buddy stores in a live environment often
and retailers. Stepping up communication determines how well the final promotional suite is put together.
levels on a strategic and practical level helps
Keeping up to date records about each retailer helps to ensure
retailers to understand the function and
appropriate POS kits are sent to each store and minimises the
possibilities of in-store marketing. By
occurrence of wasted time and resource. Information about shelf
communicating with them about your promotional objectives and
sizes, floor space availability or footprint requirements, number of
how in-store activity relates to your wider brand message, you
available facings, etc will help you to select formats of POS that
encourage them to buy in to your brand. Moreover, informing them
are targeted in their function and appropriate to the available
about expected sales uplift incentivises their efforts to ensure
materials are correctly installed and shelves are properly stocked.
By taking time to review sales uplift achieved and monitor
Most presentations take place at HQ, however it’s important to
other KPIs (key performance indicators) with your buddy store,
review your plans with the local retailer also where possible and
you will be able to make more informed decisions about how to
outline how POS will be implemented in store. They may tell you,
direct your budgets and which forms of POS are proven in their
for example, that hanging signs which require a step ladder to
impact. Refining your activities in this way will lead to more cost
implement will suffer, or that as the floor is washed each night,
effective, efficient and effective implementation which will be
water may leak onto corrugated free standing units so they may
easier for stores to comply with and result in a much higher return
require a plastic base tray. They may also tell you that certain
pieces - if rendered in plastic rather than board will last in-store
longer, achieving a higher return on investment. Retailers have the Whilst store audits entail additional expenditure at the outset, it
first hand knowledge in this area hence the importance of their does lead to less waste of POS, reworking of inappropriate formats
input from the onset. down the line, better targeting of investment and a higher rate of
return. With a bit of luck, you should see the cost of auditing pays
testing, testing… for itself very quickly!
Working with flagship or ‘buddy’ retail outlets can significantly
ease the process of understanding constraints in-store, in terms of
available space, pressure on resource, and any other circumstances
which might affect POS merchandising. By talking to the retail
staff, insight can be gained into the reality of managing stock,
maintaining corporate appearance, and any store level nuances
that contribute to implementation levels achieved. Running a test
with a “buddy” outlet can help identify compliance issues
>>manufacture & distribution
While forming strong brand-retailer To create impact and maximise opportunity in store POS is most
relationships is the best way to overcome often developed in suites rather than one-off stand-alone items.
barriers to compliance, this goes beyond
From one retailer or promotion to the next, your kitting
simply investigating what their practical
requirements will vary substantially. Some kits will be generic, and
installation requirements are, and involves
some bespoke to an outlet. Kitting instructions should be
understanding other compliance issues they
developed early in the process, double-checked by commercial
face throughout the process.
teams or sales reps and forwarded to your supplier in a timely
As a general rule, adhering to timelines and clear manner. Oversupply of POS to a small outlet, insufficient supply to
communication are the key drivers to successful compliance at a supermarket or supply of inappropriate items to any retailer only
retailer level. Once you have provided realistic lead times and have leads to waste and ineffective use of spend! Furthermore,
addressed any issues which could lead to time-wasting or supplying these details to your POS supplier at the last minute can
installation headaches, you have won half the battle. lead to late delivery or kitting error.
The single biggest cause of non-compliance in-store is lack of How your POS is packed and delivered is of the utmost importance.
clear instructions for use. Merchandisers work under constant For a start, it should be packed in a way that prevents damage in
time pressure and items that involve guesswork or require a degree transit, so that a usable suite of POS is available to the store!
in Engineering to construct are a sure-fire way of making sure your Furthermore, it should be clearly labelled, so that there is no
POS never sees the light of day! A clearly laid out, simple-to- confusion as to what has been provided and what brand it is for.
follow instruction sheet with images of the finished piece and POS suites which are branded on the outside or labelled with
display should overcome this barrier in most cases. imagery of the POS artwork are more easily found/identified by
A good POS supplier will provide this for you. Also, why not set up merchandisers, increasing their chance of being placed in-store.
a hot-line within your brand team so installers have a point of
Timely delivery of POS is another measure for maximising POS
contact if they experience difficulty at implementation? Above all,
compliance in store, as late-delivered promotional suites have less
the value of quick-and-easy construction design cannot be over-
opportunity to impact on sales figures and risk being wasted
entirely if the merchandiser’s scheduled window of opportunity for
Quality control measures are vital to successful POS placing it in-store has been missed.
implementation. At The Printed Image, our clients are given both
digital and physical proofs to sign off on and numerous QC checks
and measures are implemented along the production process, so
that mistakes are caught and eradicated long before dispatch.
White sample prototypes are vital for testing from size/durability
to weight & transit testing.
So your suite of POS has been designed with focus more directly channelled on the appearance of POS in-store,
retailer requirements in mind, produced to a brands often find the resulting displays more impactful.
high quality, appropriately kitted, labelled
As mentioned earlier, availability of stock (or lack thereof!) on-
with clear instructions for use, distributed in
shelf during a promotion is another barrier to compliance, so
a timely way and has arrived in good
having retailer buy-in is still necessary! Aligning stock and POS
condition… the POS has reached the store
placement by a POS Champion can be an effective measure for
and is ready to be merchandised. Now you face the next challenge!
resource planning and a good way of enabling compliance to be
How do you get all of it installed, with best visual impact, in the
correct space and in a timely manner?
Whether it be stores, brand reps or 3rd party merchandisers, a
Depending on the nature of your promotion, the type of POS being
clear and accurate brief on how a display should be implemented
installed, the staffing capacity of the retailer and the level of
is key to ensuring compliance is met. Planograms, visuals
control you want to have over the finished display, there are
illustrating how POS should be placed and a phone number
several ways of approaching this, but really it all comes down to
that merchandisers can use when they face difficulty are all useful
accurately briefing whoever it is that will be placing the POS in
tools for achieving full compliance.
store. Which begs the question…
For retailers who are merchandising themselves, poor
Whose POS is it anyway? communication from head office can be a barrier to compliance,
but this is quite easily overcome by supplementing head office
In many cases, where POS suites are quick and easy to place in bulletins and sending direct communications that raise awareness
store, asking retailers to merchandise it is the most cost effective at store level to pending activity. If store managers see what is
option. As they stand to gain from well placed and impactful POS being produced and are told what the likely outcomes and benefits
displays, it is in their interests to ensure POS is properly are, they will be more likely to comply with the brief and plan
leveraged. One useful measure for them insuring against non- stock levels.
compliance is to nominate POS Champions who have direct
responsibility for POS activity within the store (or specific aisles There are a number of ways to motivate store managers and
within it). Whether or not they place the POS, they would be merchandisers to maximise your POS compliance for you;
responsible for locating and monitoring it, as well as supplying highlighting sales uplift, setting store targets and creating rewards
feedback to the store manager or brand. systems accordingly are sound methods of generating buy-in from
your POS stakeholders. But these need to be backed up with store-
Where POS displays are larger or more complicated than level training, regular communication and strong implementation
a retailer can be expected to invest time in, or where the brand tools from the outset.
prefers to hold control more directly, using sales reps or third
party merchandisers to place POS is the way to go. With their
Unless you’re actually tracking levels of The choice of KPIs, method of measurement, frequency of it and
compliance from promotion to promotion you responsibility for it will all vary according to availability of
really have no way of ensuring that the resource and budget.
measures you’ve put in place are having an
Aspects of compliance which can be measured can include the
impact at store level!
POS influences consumer choice at the point
Quality of goods (design, print quality, material, etc)
of purchase, so it stands to reason that inappropriate POS and
non-compliance both lead to a loss of potential revenue, a Level of appropriateness (footprint, accessories)
compromised return on investment and hindered brand Labelling & packaging (clearly labelled, good condition)
communications. To counter these losses then, a brand must first Assembly (ease of use, clarity of instructions)
determine what level of influence its POS is having on sales and
Stock levels (pre-promo, restock frequency, adherence to planogram)
what level of POS compliance is currently being achieved.
Timings (production, delivery, assembly)
This is where your buddy store can be useful! Let us assume you
“Popularity” (what works, what retailers like)
have created a test suite of POS, got buy in from your buddy store,
and have achieved 100% compliance within it. Now you can Overall effect (strength of visual appeal, standout from competitor)
measure the impact of your POS on sales: Data can be captured quantitatively, using a “scorecard” format,
Week 1 (buddy store): WITHOUT POS = c 1000 sales where each display is judged on a scale according to a set of
Week 2 (buddy store): WITH POS = c 1400 sales categories such as those above, as well as capturing stock levels
and sales figures through EPOS. Additionally, qualitative data such
Total sales uplift: = c 400 (or 40% uplift) as verbal feedback and images of in-store displays can be
Cost of POS for buddy store = c 80 captured.
ROI of POS for buddy store = 500% But no data capture and feedback is worth its salt if learning’s are
not gleaned from it and communicated back to all parties
As mentioned at the outset, research has shown as much as 40%
concerned. Leverage your findings by refining your designs,
of POS may go straight to waste. Assuming the remaining 60% is
adjusting your print spec, altering your kitting instructions or
fully compliant (which is unlikely!), you’re still looking at the
communicating with retailers and merchandisers more effectively.
Often, simply acknowledging feedback from a retailer (“thank you
Buddy store @ 100% compliance = 40% sales uplift
for sending back your questionnaire”) or outlining a new learning
So, regular store@ 60% compliance = 24% sales uplift
you have arrived at (“we will be amending the construction of the
This represents €160 lost revenue potential per store! unit based on your concerns”) may be enough to motivate them to
And that’s a best case scenario! ensure that the next round of POS reaches full compliance.
Effective measurement of POS Compliance requires that parties
involved are agreed on exactly what is being measured and how.
>>clever customer communications
Over the past 20 years The Printed Image has All this from one supplier and one service team. In short, we
evolved from being a print supplier into manage every touch point that helps build your brand and drive
Ireland’s premier creator of marketing sales for you. We view your challenges as our opportunity to
communications materials. We are a first provide solutions by thinking creatively and producing for you
choice partner for leading worldwide brands everyday.
and smaller companies looking to
Our 20 years proven track record in delivering winning marketing
communicate effectively with their customers.
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supply you with the most cost-effective solutions for all your and experience specifically in POS and marketing communications.
below-the-line marketing communications activity.
With our experience, knowledge and investment in innovation we
>> Marketing Consultancy are constantly creating new POS offerings and formulas for success
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