In the fiercely competitive world of pet marketing, it’s crucial for brands to stand out and leave a lasting impression on potential customers. One highly effective way for pet brands to engage and connect with shoppers at store level is through strategic use of Point-of-Sale Marketing (POSM.)
While big box pet retailers like PetCo and PetSmart have largely gravitated to clean store policies, there is still much opportunity to leverage POSM at independent pet chains and smaller retailers who rely on local foot traffic and relationship building to retain customers and grow their business. These stores are always seeking ways to effectively engage customers and create an informative, enjoyable, and personalized shopping experience. POSM offers a great resource to support that mission by helping shoppers learn more about brands and the value they deliver. Moreover, with more than two-thirds of pet-related purchase decisions being made at store level, POSM can help brands meet pet parents where they largely shop to engage and drive call-to-action. The food industry has been leveraging POSM forever, so there must be something to it. That said, it’s time for pet brands to consider making it as part of their marketing mix.
Let’s take a closer look at POSM and how it can be used to help brands drive sales and household penetration with pet parents. We’ll also share some innovative new ways in which POSM is being used, including some creative campaigns that have successfully harnessed its power to build out unique brand experiences.
The Essentials of POSM
Pet parents want a positive in-store experience that includes visual and aesthetic elements that readily inform and lend understanding of the value of and differences between pet products and brands. Moreover, with a vast sea of options from which to choose, they want to easily locate products aligned with their values as well as the needs of their pets. POSM (Point-of-Sale Marketing) can help improve their in-store journey through promotional materials/displays strategically placed at both the point of purchase (anywhere that product and consumer might meet in store) and point of sale (at the checkout) that sell the functional and emotional benefits of a brand.
While POSM comes in various forms, its purpose always remains the same: to capture attention, influence shoppers to consider a brand, and ultimately to have the product placed into cart. It’s more than intrusive marketing and display elements strategically placed in stores where shoppers will see them to drive purchase. POSM also provides an avenue for communicating relevant brand messaging to help shoppers understand why your brand is the right choice for them. It encompasses a broad spectrum of marketing strategies that include messaging and creative designed to influence consumer behavior, as well as promotional tactics such as discounts, loyalty programs and product demonstrations to help engage and familiarize shoppers with brands and prompt behavioral consideration/purchase.
Why POSM is Important
POSM can play a pivotal role in the marketing mix of pet brands by helping move shoppers along the path to purchase on several fronts, including:
- Boost Brand Visibility and Awareness: POSM can help get products noticed and create new brand users. Therefore, it’s essential that messaging/creative used in POSM materials create a favorable impression for your brand right from the start.
- Information Dissemination: It’s marketing’s role to help shoppers understand why they should consider your brand and POSM can help by communicating useful brand information such as new varieties, special features, or limited-time promotions.
- Drive Impulse Purchases: The checkout is a hotspot for impulse buying. When strategically designed and placed, POSM can capitalize on this behavior to get additional items into carts.
- Cross-Promotional Display Activity: Cross-promotional events are great for everyone. Retailers love them because they encourage a higher dollar ring, consumers like them because of the value and solutions they provide, and for brands they provide ability to gain more exposure for a shared cost. POSM can support all of the above through engaging displays that help products visually come to life and connect with shoppers.
- Competitive Advantage: In a crowded marketplace, POSM provides brands the opportunity to stand out and differentiate themselves from their competition.
Determining the POSM That Works Best for Your Brand
POSM takes on many forms and runs the gamut from the traditional to the technology driven, each providing unique value in leading pet parents down the path-to-purchase. Some examples include:
- Shelf Talkers: ideal for drawing attention to products at shelf and sharing brand messaging
- Floor Displays: a ‘disruptive’ approach with high visual impact for driving engagement/purchase
- Clip-strips/Displays at Checkout: great for capturing last minute impulse purchases and trial
- Endcap Displays: serve to generate trial for new flavors, promoting seasonal items, etc.
- Banners and Posters: intrusive and ideal for conveying new product news, promotions, etc.
- Floor Mats/Decals: draw shoppers right to your product at the shelf and convey unique product claims, announce new flavors, etc.
Given that we live in a fast-paced age of technological innovation, some pet marketers are exploring new and creative ways to use POSM beyond the tried and true, including:
- Interactive Displays: leverage elements such as touchscreens, interactive walls or monitor presentations that engage with users to learn about their needs and provide personalized content
- Augmented Reality Experiences: elevated communication of brand/product information using AR that engages and provides an immersive, memorable brand experience in-store with consumers
- Robotic Displays: in-store experiences that captivate, educated, and entertain, these range from interactive screens simulating pet care scenarios to lifelike animatronic pets that respond to customer touch to demonstrate benefits of specific products.
With lots of POSM forms to choose from, it’s important that brands select wisely by considering which will best support brand objectives and resonate most with the target audience, which are most likely to be embraced by priority accounts to ensure POSM elements get up and stay up in-store during campaigns, and which fit best with your budget.
If your brand is newer to POSM, leveraging a regional ‘test and learn’ strategy can be helpful in pinpointing the specific approaches that generate the most sales lift/strongest ROI.
Capturing the attention of and building loyalty with pet owners is a continuous challenge for independent brick-and-mortar retailers, especially with big box chains and e-commerce sites ever nipping at their heels. Customer retention is everything to these stores and POSM offers a proven solution that strategically harnesses promotional materials and displays to engage pet parents at store level and to convey functional and emotional brand value. The keys to making POSM work best for your brand begin with defining your objectives to ensure you have chosen the most appropriate form of POSM, developing relevant materials/messaging which will resonate with your target audience and having a strategy in place for gaining in-store placement of your POSM plan. With those elements in place, you’ll be well positioned to make your brand stand apart from the competition and on your way to establishing lasting connections with shoppers.