The point of sale (POS) print market is experiencing a perfect storm. Consumers are more cautious than usual about spending, however the point of purchase (POP) market remains in demand compared to the skyrocketing costs of other advertising outlets including TV, radio, and direct mail.
Retailers are ready to compete for consumer attention. POP advertising is a sure thing. Its very foundation is an already-captive audience.
"Primarily, retailers we sell to use banner stands to promote specialty services within their store, such as photo processing and printing services," notes Robb Northrup, marketing communications manager, Southern Imperial, Inc., which offers ceiling, free-standing, and EndSign banner holders.
"As for brand manufacturers, our banner stands are used for new product releases, and for special sampling or promotional events," Northrup explains.
Testrite Visual Products, Inc. carries dozens of sign and graphic display structures, including banner stands, pedestal stands, and systems for framing and hanging. Recently, the company introduced two new display products—the Cobra, an aptly named floor standing graphic stand shaped like a cobra ready to strike; and the MegaWave wall system, which provides a large structure for displaying mural-sized messages.
Companies like Tex Visions supply framing systems for retail graphics as well. Popular for in-store signage, Tex Visions’ Q-Frame systems are mountable to walls or ceilings. They can also be positioned in attractive bases.
With no shortage of clever ways to display POP graphics, there’s virtually no limit to the possibilities. Print suppliers and their customers experiment with new substrates, dimensions, and mechanics to stand out.
Beyond traditional hanging, standing, or mounted signage, average retail space is ripe for marketing messages—almost anything can be wrapped or printed on directly. Windows, columns, walls, faux walls, furniture—even floors and sidewalks, can transform into promotional vehicles.
"One product that garnered a lot of attention at SGIA 2008 in Atlanta, GA was StreetRap sidewalk graphics media," notes Mary Ann Kucera, product marketing manager, MACtac Graphic Products. "This is a groundbreaking product for a neglected retail POP frontier—floors. StreetRap is a great for short-term, outdoor applications such as product promotions, sales, concerts, and street fairs since there are usually no images on the floor to compete with."
"Our customers do amazing work for POP display applications, including vinyl installations on elevator doors and floors for the launch of high-end products, to ATM and coffee machine wraps. We see spectacular window graphics as well. Pillar wraps and floor graphics are increasingly used—both in-store locations, as well as outside on sidewalks and walkways."
Though still a fledgling opportunity for sign suppliers rooted in print, even electronic signage is showing promise as a cost-effective and engaging medium for multiple, revolving, and/or on the fly POS messages.
The market is replete with technologies—print, finishing, installation—and consumables to execute even the wildest POP ideas. Don’t miss the second part of this series on POP graphics, featuring a behind the scenes look at the hardware enabling this thriving print market.