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P-O-P Primer

(February 2013) posted on Tue Mar 26, 2013

This discussion centers on forward-looking best practices for producing effective P-O-P campaigns and examines the value of forging valuable partnerships with customers and suppliers.


By Dan Pratt

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The in-store program required a holistic, yet simplified, product planogram and graphic-implementation guide for ease of fitment and installation across existing single bay fixtures in diverse dealer locations.
The Planex program included a variety of digitally printed items, display systems, and hardware elements; consolidation of client-supplied items; kitting; and shipping to various dealer locations throughout the U.S. We took a single bay existing in a Festool store-within-a-store environment and took a form-and-fit approach, where P-O-P elements helped to create excitement and buzz for a new product launch, engaging the consumer and enhancing the shopping experience.

The cost of cutting costs
Many P-O-P programs have specified P-O-P signage components, where form and fit and how to engineer, produce, package, and distribute are critical. Price is usually the driver for acceptance; sometimes, reverse auctions are used as a specific tool. Buying groups are particularly adept at applying these techniques. While this approach does drive down initial cost, it doesn’t necessarily lead to continual improvement over time. The only way to accomplish this is through process-value engineering and supply-chain improvement.
Effective P-O-P providers maintain a team of highly skilled retail experts who oversee every project from inception to delivery and who provide a steady flow of communication between the customer and their program. These companies also have project managers on staff who own the projects and deliver with results.

Managing all variables of retail-graphics production is vital to producing a sound product that delivers confidence to customers. The realization process should include materials specialists who production-engineer every fixture and display with the attitude of a scientific lab technician. Each design should also be value-engineered to ensure a durable, cost-effective product for the brand customer.
The last piece of the development stage is the management of sourcing partners. Building long-standing value-chain partnerships with similar industry leaders, nationally and internationally, is very important.

Muscle and merit―litho, screen, or digital
Many complex, multi-product P-O-P kit projects require a combination of print capabilities due to graphic reproduction, quantity and color requirements. In some cases, there could be a trade-off price versus quality, particularly if the project is bought on price only. If you’re operating a full-service business and haven’t looked into certifications for printing, now’s the time.

If your business has the ability to print with screen, digital, and/or litho presses, you should get on board with G7 certification so that you can expertly manage color across various substrates and printing techniques and ensure the best quality and price are achieved.

Uncovering indirect costs
Nearly all P-O-P projects have set budgets focusing on the direct costs of signage elements. Most do not focus on the indirect costs, overproduction and waste, form and fit inside the store, shipping logistics, inventory requirements. In many cases, the indirect costs—over production, accelerated freight, poor packaging/consolidation—are substantial, leading to poor overall value.

The constantly changing nature of retail sales is a barrier to some production firms. Consider developing a fully integrated online system that houses unique, store-specific attributes so that you can ship store-specific elements and ensure no over/under production. Additionally, you should employ lean processes that allow for a flexible fulfillment schedule that ends up saving your clients time and money.

Keep no more than three months of inventory on hand at all times. This provides low risk for your customers and minimal obsolescence of product. Use technology to our benefit in replenishment services, but always work hand in hand with clients to build a custom solution.

Moving consumers at retail
Creating signage and impactful store environments for some of the world’s largest brands means operating at a level beyond just being a provider of services. Be a business people your customers can relate to, and create partnerships in which you work closely to design a process that fits flush with your needs. Finally, remember that delivering a seamless in-store environment is the best way to deliver a truly memorable shopping experience.


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