Reimagine Retail Activation

The retail marketplace continues to be a very competitive landscape. Mobile, online and subscription-based shopping is uniquely influencing today’s consumer. However, with more than 75% of purchases being made in stores, the in-store experience dominates consumer behavior.

The store experience a consumer has with a particular retailer is often what the consumer recalls when making his or her next purchase decision. Recent research collected by consulting firm Temkin Group points to the ROI potential of a positive and memorable customer experience. According to the company’s findings, there is a strong correlation between store experience and brand loyalty factors.

Market Influence

With consumer behavior rapidly changing and purchasing patterns evolving, market players are taking notice. Design:Retail Magazine recently interviewed several retail industry executives for its State of the Industry report, including: store planners, designers and visual merchandisers. Some significant statistics regarding retail design surfaced:


of retail executives believed that a retail store’s design, planning, and visual components are more important today than five years ago.


surveyed believe the average retail store designer’s job importance will rise in the next five years


of respondents planned to renovate or add new design elements to the same amount or more of their stores.

In today’s competitive climate, it’s critical for retailers and brand marketers to construct a positive in-store shopping experience. At its core, visual merchandising and marketing efforts using pointof-purchase materials, such as signage and displays, need to be effectively allocated to influence consumer behavior. Impactful point-of-purchase (POP) activation ensures easier shopability and increased brand loyalty.

Effective POP Execution

As a marketer, one way to evaluate the usefulness and success of your point-of-material is to employ the Four C’s methodology. Developed by MarketingLab President Richard Butwinick, and adopted by Path to Purchase Institute, the Four C’s represent a cognitive step the shopper experiences when engaged with POP materials. The Four C’s are “Command” attention, “Connect” with shoppers, “Convey” key information and “Close” the sale. This methodology follows consumer engagement throughout the path-to-purchase process. It is important for retail designers and planners to keep these point-of-purchase execution steps in mind to create the best retail environment.


T-Mobile31. Command Attention

Many in the retail industry believe you have only three seconds to grab a customer’s attention. The first step in the Four C process is to ensure your POP is noticeable. Materials must signal a shopper from a distance and POP should ideally be commanding enough to do so even from the peripheral.

When placing interior signage, consider wayfinding visuals that will direct your customers to the places they want to go, such as restrooms, checkout, sale items, and customer categories. For window programs, consider the “third window,” a display strategy of getting the shopper’s attention from the side while they are looking straight ahead.

A dynamic, impactful sign or display can be created by ‘pulling out’ visual elements from flat artwork. Utilizing special UV coatings and inks to create eye-catching appeal, whether it’s glitter, glow-in-thedark, metallic inks or other distinct coatings, will bring your images to life. Elements such as lights, sound, motion or scent can add impact.

2. Connect with Shoppers

Once your POP materials command the shopper’s attention, you must ensure the consumer recognizes what it stands for. Remember, you don’t have much time. If your POP doesn’t register as recognizable and relevant, the shopper moves on without a second thought.

Design your POP to elicit your desired behavior. Whether you are communicating a promotion, incentive or educating the consumer, develop clarity around the offering, identity of the target group, and value proposition. This is the brand connection component. Materials must include visual branding cues that the shopper recognizes and feels comfortable with. Leverage unique printing and finishing techniques to allow your POP signage and display programs to connect the dots, and move the consumer further down the path-to-purchase. By adding impactful visual elements to your signage and displays, you can further entice a customer to engage.

3. Convey Key Information

Now that the consumer has stopped and is evaluating your product or service, the more effectively you can convey a clear and compelling message to the shopper, the closer you become to a potential sale. Marketers should strive to tell a clear and compelling story that prioritizes benefits in a simple way.

Identify creative ways to incorporate educational messaging into your POP programs, and make sure you remove communication limitations by developing versatile signage programs. This will allow you to quickly changeout messaging to adapt and defend against changing consumer behavior patterns and market dynamics.

4. Close the Sale

The objective here is to overcome any purchase doubt in the target shopper. Tactical elements include reassuring the shopper about performance concerns and closing with a strong ‘act now’ message or incentive. Deliver personalization and localized messaging to create more relevancy to the consumer.

Making things simpler offers distinct advantages for retailers. The Global Brand Simplicity Index 2014 found that 38% of consumers are willing to pay more for a simpler experience. And, 70% are more likely to recommend a brand because it provides a simpler experience.

Understanding what your customers value—and giving it to them easily and consistently, via your unique brand—is the key to creating the experience that brings customers back.

Visit our photo gallery to discover more activation ideas and in-store examples: Retail Activation Gallery