With vibrant accents, POP is a win-win situation. It makes money for the shop displaying the product, as well as the product’s manufacturer. "It’s a great marketing vehicle for the consumer," shares Bob Mormile, president, Digital Impact, LLC, part of the VT Group.
Printing POP is a snap, thanks to digital improvements. Customizable displays by region and marketing promotion can be created just as easily as a one run job. "All and all, digitally printed POP is making it easier for a consumer to successfully target the market they want to hit," summarizes Mormile.
The impact of digital on POP shows statistically. Wide format POP is estimated to grow 10.5 percent annually, according to InfoTrends. In just 2007 alone, it will grow from 6.4 billion dollars to over 7.1 billion dollars. Consumers continue to fuel this growth.
POP Goes Bananas
Confectionery treats such as candy, gum, and mints drive the overall snack market. Surprisingly, studies by The Hershey Company find that 98 percent of consumers buy confections, making it the highest household penetration category in the entire snack segment.
"Candy is an impulse buy," explains Rick Price, manager of merchandising, The Hershey Company. "Consumers do not typically have candy on their shopping list so we need to be front and center with our displays, which are our key sales driver."
Grabbing the consumer is central to confectionery sales. The Hershey Company’s Reese’s Limited Edition Elvis Peanut Butter and Banana Créme cups promotion is one example of a successful POP display program. Peanut butter and bananas was Elvis Presley’s favorite food. By tying in Presley’s image with all the candy’s promotional material, what resulted was The Hershey Company’s biggest promotion of the year. "Thanks to a great brand—Reese’s, an icon in Elvis, and just being creative with promotions, it really drove sales. It exceeded our expectations and significantly outpaced any other loose bar promotion we’ve done in the last couple of years," shares Price.
The Hershey Company’s POP displays are a dominant fixture in our lives. You’ve seen them at your local supermarket, convenience store, and the random gas station. But each display is different—depending on the promotion and the space. The company takes the time to develop solutions for every retail channel because the display and the impulse buy go hand in hand. Floor stands, counter units, and modules that are either a quarter, half, or a full pallet can be found anywhere depending on the business.
Variety is an important component in confectionery sales. Confections have a short life cycle, unlike shampoo or soap, where after you buy it, a prolonged period passes before you repurchase. Price elaborates on this theory, "In the confection sector, we are blessed with the consumer’s ability to buy a Reese’s cup at a grocery store and then buy gum or mints at the gas station five minutes later."
Of course, eye-catching displays have a lot to do with this and each year it seems that POP’s influence on sales increases. Take for example a popular display for s’mores. The Hershey Company combined with both Kraft and Nabisco to create displays that merchandised Kraft marshmallows, Nabisco graham crackers, and Hershey chocolate bars in one area. The same promotion runs every year from Memorial Day to Labor Day and according to Price has only gotten bigger with each coming year.
"The s’mores promotion has achieved double digit sales growth for four straight years. The key ingredient for success has been cross merchandising three power brands together to create ‘one stop shop’ convenience for the consumer," states Price.
Taking a Big Bite Out of POP
Big Apple Visual Group (BAVG) has over 30 years of experience under its belt. The company is involved from the concept to the install when it comes to creating a digital product for their customer.
With corporate headquarters in New York City and its manufacturing facility in Islandia, NY, the company is spread over the greater NY area. Their services also extend into Asia and the Middle East, with offices and a manufacturing facility in Dubai. Between the three locations, BAVG employs over two hundred people.
POP is just a sliver of what BAVG offers to its customers. In 1992, the company began creating outdoor and indoor murals using scotch printing. As they grew, they acquired inkjet machines, such as a Mimaki JV5 and VUTEk 3360. Their biggest investment by far is their Durst Lambda high-resolution photographic processor. With the beautiful color and continuous tone output, c-prints and transparencies are in high demand. The device allows for printing on both photographic paper and backlit films.
"Clients these days are even more interested in the substrates that we have to offer. With the ability to print with different resolutions and a variety of substrates, we have taken on a bigger market, which includes retailers, architects, designers, event planners, and production houses," shares Sukaina Khalfan, director of marketing and sales, BAVG.
Most of the POP that BAVG creates is for windows or interiors as plotter-cut vinyl, mounted or suspended prints, cut-to-shape displays, or dimensional letters. According to Khalfan, the most popular displays are acrylic, wood, and foam. "We’ve worked on quite a few rollouts with retailers and we guide them as to how to get their desired look with cost effective materials."
Retailers such as Martin and Osa, Ann Taylor, Kenneth Cole, Banana Republic, and St. John all use BAVG for their POP needs. With output created on the Durst, Mimaki, and VUTEk equipment, integrated with the capability to laser, router, and water-jet cut various shapes and sizes, BAVG is able to take on a variety of project types. Rush turnarounds are what BAVG is known for, and although it can be a bit of a challenge sometimes, they always pull through.
Big Apple Visual Group takes on large rollouts for several nationwide chains. Their most recent POP variety was created for Disney and Children’s Place. The customers’ goals were to receive quality laser-cut frames for both mirrors and LCD monitors as well as fabricated and illuminated displays for new store openings in two to three weeks. Once again, using the variety of equipment and processes available, BAVG prevailed.
Thinking Outside the Box
Based in Yeadon, PA, Digital Impact, LLC, part of the VT Group, specializes in short run, wide format, digital POP. The company is part of a trifecta of businesses under the ownership of Bob Mormile. The oldest shop, VT Graphics, was created in 1960 and primarily works on the prepress and corrugated work for the POP and display industry, one of their customers is The Hershey Company.
In 2004 Digital Impact was born. "Knowing packaging, knowing corrugating, we took our knowledge and brought it over to the wide format market and offered our customers a short-run digital option," explains Mormile.
Eight is Digital Impact’s number. The separate 8,000-square-foot facility, actually across the street from VT Graphics, has eight employees and almost 80 percent of their business is POP. If eight is their magic number, then digital has to be their magic word.
The presence of digital in their shop is huge. Mormile explains, "We’re able to see a product right away, versus before when we made the tooling and we’d ship it to our existing converters. Sometimes we wouldn’t see the finished product until a month or two later and sometimes we wouldn’t see it at all. Now we can actually send them a prototype before we make the plates."
A lot of this change has to do with their primary printer, a HP Scitex CORjet. This aqueous-based wide format device is environmentally friendly, which was a huge selling point for Mormile. "We researched the market heavily and went in head first for the highest production running machine that we could buy." He continues, "At the time, and still today, it is the best machine out there that will run the amount of square footage, volume, automatic feed offload, and onload."
With the success of Digital Impact, Mormile looked to expand his offerings further by opening a full service design business, Ocean Design Group. Although created in 2006, the company didn’t take off on its own until January 2007. Why the need for a separate design group? Mormile found that a lot of his customers were coming in with a blank slate and needed help starting their projects.
One such company was the Lyropa Tool Corpor-ation. Lyropa had a major trade show in San Diego and no packaging to display their product. Patrick Anderson, president, Lyropa Tool Corporation, explains, "We needed a way to help get the message of the features and benefits of our new product to the consumer. We knew we had a great product but lacked the knowledge of what would ensure success at the point of purchase level."
On a Saturday morning they put a call into Digital Impact. Their goal was to create a variety of pieces in a week for their new product, Twist Lok. Digital Impact was Lyropa’s first choice, being local, and because they could work with Lyropa all the way from design to manufacturing.
Lyropa came to Digital Impact with no design in mind, just a color combo and product shots. Incorporating Lyropa’s needs, the Ocean Design Group created a variety of display sizes and shapes to showcase the Twist Lok product. Between floor displays and counter displays, eight to nine pieces were constructed and depending on the piece anywhere from 500 to 2,500 of each were produced.
The success of the project, despite enormous time constraints, was astounding. "Without digital and wide format we would not have been able to do it," Mormile shares.
Anderson agrees. "The Twist-Lok Drill and Drive System prior to our new POP displays was a very well received product when shown and demonstrated but lacked the ability to sell through at retail. With the POP the results are excellent! Our product was universally accepted by store owners and what resulted was being stocked by Ace Corporate."
Long Live POP
With electronic digital signage becoming prevalent in the marketplace, the survival of POP is coming into question. Khalfan has noticed this. "It [electronic digital signage] is slowly overtaking a portion of the market, however, there is always a demand for regular POP signage and creative displays. We don’t see that market disappearing."
In fact, Khalfan shares that many of BAVG’s clients who request electronic digital signage, also like to incorporate traditional POP into the display. For example, the above-mentioned work BAVG did with Disney, creating a laser-cut acrylic frame for a LCD/TV monitor, was one of these collaborations.
Tim Greene, director, wide format, InfoTrends, echoes Khalfan’s sentiment. "We think the future of wide format digitally printed POP materials remains strong because of the effectiveness of POP sales."
With analysts and manufacturers maintaining that POP is here to stay, the one last sector to ask is the customer. "POP is critical to our business due to the spontaneity of confections," admits Price.
He continues, "50 percent of consumers shop the perimeter of the store, or what we call the race track. Only 50 percent of consumers go down the candy aisle." To achieve the bulk of their sales, The Hershey Company positions their POP displays around high traffic areas.
These statistics show that without traditional POP displays in grocery and convenience stores, confections would certainly lose its dominant consumer base—the impulse buyer.
Now imagine how other consumer sales would be affected if point of purchase marketing disappeared from the retail sector.