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Comment: In-store displays are an asset that must be protected says Colin Chapman

With large amounts of money and resources going into planning and delivering successful in-store campaigns, it is imperative that retail displays are treated like the valuable assets they are. However according to POPAI, current compliance levels run at a paltry 45 to 60 per cent: at best only around six in 10 promotional displays that are developed, packaged, marketed, dispatched and installed actually make it into stores. This is an astonishing statistic considering the significant costs involved.

The higher the compliance rate the better the return on investment brands and retailers will achieve from their displays. Ideally they should aim for an average of 99 per cent compliance. But if fixtures are not installed correctly they simply will not achieve what they were designed to do: getting products into the hands of customers.

With research suggesting that 75 per cent of shoppers who pick up a product go on to purchase it, the case for high compliance rates is indisputable. How can products be picked up if they are not there because the displays are languishing in the store’s stock room?

Many factors go into ensuring that compliance rates start off, and remain, as high as possible. For example, consideration needs to be given to whether the design of a retail display and the materials used in its construction are truly fit for purpose to begin with, given the specific retail environment it will be installed in.

Pre-project audits and trials will identify potential issues with getting displays into stores and give a good measure of how they will perform. At this stage minor changes can be made to the design of a display to not just make it more robust if needed, but also to make the implementation stage of a campaign run more smoothly. For example, an access audit we provided prior to the Boots Christmas 2014 campaign highlighted a problem with fitting fixtures into the lifts in stores. Because we were aware of the problem prior to the rollout we could work around this issue to ensure it did not impact on the installation.

A display installation and maintenance specialist is able to use expertise and knowledge of store estates to advise retailers and brands how to achieve the best compliance rates for campaigns even before the implementation. They can also make sure the rollout is tightly coordinated and delivered like clockwork, providing real time photographic reporting so clients can see the finished installation is exactly on brief.

Installation is the first stage, not the last, in ensuring displays are 100 per cent compliant and will realise their full potential. They must stay looking their best for the duration of their life in-store. We recommend a detailed schedule for maintenance to ensure they remain of a high standard and provide ongoing value for money for a fixed maintenance budget.

Retail displays are immensely valuable assets and managing them so they provide a consistent return requires skill, expertise and time – often a luxury that retailers and brand owners simply do not have.

When you consider the investment that goes into retail displays, making sure they are, and remain, compliant and delivering the best results has to be an ongoing priority.

Colin Chapman is operations director at CJ Retail Solutions