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5 steps to achieving great POP performance, when it matters

Once again, the Euros have been a mix of the entertaining, the stirring and the exciting, along with the odd boring nil-nil draw, followed by penalties. For England, sadly it was a case of ‘none of the above’.

Some, including the team’s now former manager, have said that the cost of exiting the tournament, in the manner that they did, has damaged the team’s reputation. It certainly dented the pride of many supporters. Luckily for England, its fans are nothing if not loyal. But when it comes poor brand performance in-store, shoppers can be a little less forgiving.

Retail activations are a lot like taking part in a tournament. Ensuring displays successfully negotiate rounds of testing and the hurdle of retailer sign-off is like the qualifiers. It provides brands with any opportunity to tweak, refine, and explore which formation works best. Do well here and make it through to shine on the main stage itself. For many temporary displays it will mean around twelve weeks of intense competition.

As in any sport, performance in-store is all about maximising efficiency and effectiveness.

Here, experienced and knowledgeable support plays a significant role. Think of installation specialists as a coach who is focused solely on improving a particular attribute of the team – a fitness coach, for example. While they do not dictate how the team will line up on the pitch, their role is to make small incremental improvements that, overall, make a big difference to the result.

Put simply, the decisions that retailers and brands make early on can have a major impact on performance when displays finally make it into store. Below we outline the areas of improvement that will help you reach your potential.

Fitness Assessment
Whatever stage of the process you’re involved in, developing retail activations often means long hours and calls for lots of stamina. But we’re not referring to individuals’ fitness levels. Instead, we’re talking about carrying out a fitness assessment of the P-O-P display itself. No matter how on top of your game you think you are, bringing those responsible for installation into the process sooner could avoid potentially costly ‘health’ issues associated with your display concept, before it’s too late.

There are an endless number of possible tests that design agencies and retailers may use to determine whether a display’s baseline ‘fit for purpose’ level. For example, is it robust enough to perform well, consistently, despite all that may be thrown at, or rather put on it? But some of the less obvious issues can be overlooked. A decision to substitute a simple fixing for an alternative solution may not seem like it will make a significant difference, but it could deliver immediate short-term gains, such as a lower cost alternative being specified, or enabling displays to be packaged more cost effectively for transportation. It could also help brands to play a better long game: ensuring displays are designed to withstand some of knocks and bruises that it will undoubtedly have to take during its time in-store – improving longevity.

Plan to succeed
Careful preparation and attention to detail is just as, if not more, important than the physical ability to install display components into store, en masse. To truly achieve your goal of ‘right first time’ installation, you have to first work on project thinking, and then on getting minds right amongst other key members of the team. Having details of the plan clearly set, and communicated to everyone involved, will improve focus and give you a mental advantage over the competition.

Backroom Support
Football manages talk about the importance of having a good squad, and it’s the same when looking to implement a successful in-store campaign. It’s a team effort and working with an installation partner that does not have sufficient depth of talent – a large-scale and well-trained installation force – is like having to rely on a single star footballer to carry the whole team.

The backroom members of staff are the unsung heroes of many sporting success stories – the coaches, nutritionists and sports psychologists. For retail installations to perform well takes a highly skilled and focused project management team – planning and overseeing every aspect – every nut, every bolt, every pre-visit call to store that is involved in executing the activation plan, as planned.

Train well, perform better

Working with installation partners who invest in the right training can help your in-store activation excel. Success on the pitch is not about training for a single match – it requires a carefully considered and ongoing programme to achieve peak performance, consistently. And the same is true with P-O-P installation. Teams should be regularly put through their paces, with a thorough training and validation process. For marketers, it may seem like something that’s one step removed from their core objectives, but you are putting your brand’s success into the hands of other people, so the training they receive really does matter. Get it right and installers will have a clear and deep understanding of the physical and tactical elements of the role that they are being asked to perform. They will also ensure that lapses in concentration – that will ultimately result in mediocre retail standards, a poor shopping experience and, worst of all, lost sales – are avoided. Work with an installation provider that takes performance training seriously to get the most out of your efforts. It really does pay.

Analyse performance
Performance coaches are integral to almost every football team these days – analysing activities on the pitch to provide visibility and insight into what’s really happening on the field of play. When it comes to in-store activations, brands increasingly understand the importance of working with partners who invest in similar activity. Leading edge installations specialists, such as CJ Retail Solutions, now employ a team of hugely talented IT professionals to capture comprehensive data from installs, using intelligent reporting programmes – developed in-house to meet the very specific needs of clients – to deliver a real-time overview of in-store activity allowing marketers to precisely know how installation activities are performing against targets.