Point of Purchase

With more than 80 percent of supermarket shoppers making their final buying decisions in the store, point of purchase activities by marketers assume an important role. An effective combination of good store layout and attractive displays can change a humdrum retail environment into one that not only is more exciting but also produces more sales. Special displays are used in stores in order to attract shopper attention to one or more products.

The bulk of published research conducted on the effectiveness of displays has come from the supermarket and drugstore fields. Numerous examples of the effectiveness of displays in attracting consumer attention could be cited. The following are representative of the findings:

1) Of 2473 supermarket shoppers interviewed, 38 percent had purchased at least one brand or item they had never before bought. The reason cited most frequently (25 per cent) for a first time purchase was that it had been displayed.
2) A study of 5215 customers in supermarkets, variety stores, drugstores, hardware stores, liquor stores, and service stations found that one third had purchased at least one of the displayed items.
3) Kmart discovered a 251 percent sales increase for sports products featured on continuous loop film in point of purchase audiovisual displays.

It is clear from these results that displays are effective in increasing sales. In fact, the greatest gains can be realized generally by typing a price reduction to a display, as illustrated in Figure summarizing data for a large number of markets in the United States . A legitimate question by the reader may be whether the display takes sales away from ordinary shelf sales. It has been found that displays do tend to reduce normal shelf sales. However, net sales of display and shelf combined are usually so far above normal that use of displays appears to be strongly substantiated. Moreover, tests show that there is a rapid return to normal shelf sales once the item is removed from display. This would indicate that customers are not simply stocking up on the item but are actually consuming more. Thus, displays have much evidence to support their continued strong usage as a merchandising tool.

In store merchandising is continually changing as marketers seek to discover new ways of reaching consumers with their promotional messages close to the point of purchase. In stores promotion is not only growing rapidly but is becoming electronics as marketers place messages on everything from shopping carts to store directories and shelves . Figure illustrates the variety of in store media utilized today, including grocery cart ads, electronics and non-electronic signs, TV monitors, audio / radio systems, shelf programs couponing programs, and sampling programs. Three of four retail chains are using in store electronic marketing devices and expect that such use will continue to grow. Table lists some of the new electronic marketing terminology that consumers will be increasingly encountering.

Product Shelving

Product shelving has an important influence on consumer behavior. Both the height at which products are displayed and the number of rows presented (facings) can influence sales of products. In addition, the use of shelf signs and extenders can effect sales, as seen above.

Shelf Height

Because the average shopper selects only thirty five of the available 7000 or more grocery products during the average twenty seven minute shopping trip, it is easy to see why manufacturers clamor for the most visible eye level shelf position. Tests conducted by Progressive Grocer indicate that the most favorable shelf position is generally at eye level, followed in effectiveness by waist level, and knee or ankle level. It has been calculated from Progressive Grocer data that sales from waist level shelves were only 74 per cent as great and sales from floor level shelves were only 57 per cent as great as sales from equivalent space allocations on eye level shelves

Beyond the physical impossibility of stocking all products at eye level , there are also valid arguments for placing products on lower shelves . Actually the shelf height dictated for an item is a function of its package size, its normal movement, whether or not it is being advertised and its market target.

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