Cloud Computing: Debunking the Myths for POS Marketing Software
For the last few years, the IT world has seen the increasing popularity of Cloud Computing, easily becoming the most talked about business software solution.
The concept behind cloud computing is simple: It lets you run computer applications over the Internet, without having to buy, install or manage your own servers. You can run your company's IT operations with nothing more than a browser and an Internet connection.
The Myths of Cloud Computing – Industry Survey
More and more organizations have chosen to adopt the cloud to some extent. A Frost & Sullivan survey indicated that cloud computing has emerged as the #1 priority for a significant number of businesses.
Cloud solutions and services come in various forms and pricing models, which may have caused some IT professionals to be skeptical on how this new technology may affect their businesses. This has given rise to different myths and misconceptions about the realities of cloud computing, obscuring the many benefits it offers, such as improving business agility and reducing expenditures.
Below are some of the most common myths that Frost & Sullivan dispelled in its white paper to give a reality check on cloud computing:
Myth #1: Cloud computing is less secure than on-premise alternatives
Perhaps the most common hesitation in moving to the cloud lies in the issues of security and privacy. Due to the cloud system’s deployment of important business data to the internet, IT professionals see on-premise systems as being less prone to security breaches and risks.
In fact, cloud computing is more secure than on-premise systems in many ways, one of which due to its centralized nature. This gives it fewer points of vulnerability as compared to a more distributed on-premise solution.
Myth #2: Cloud computing is only suitable for consumers and smaller businesses
Unlike small companies, which have lesser systems that need to be migrated to the cloud, large businesses usually have more requirements and legacy systems that slow cloud adoption. Such complexity may have caused the notion that the cloud is not suitable for large organizations, when in fact it leads to the development of cloud solutions that are more comprehensive and meet stricter regulations. Integrating cloud computing with current on-premise systems in a two-tier model has also been proven useful in running multiple locations, especially on a national basis.
Myth #3: Cloud computing is not suitable for mission-critical activities
More and more companies with mission-critical activities run entirely in the cloud—Netflix, Groupon, Google and Amazon to name a few. Across the world, mission-critical applications continue to move into the public cloud, such as ERP, CRM and human resource management. This offers greater business agility compared to private clouds or traditional delivery models.
OnTrak and Cloud Computing
When OnTrak Software began developing its Point-of-Sale (POS) Marketing Management solutions over 6 years ago, we were on the leading edge of a technology called Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) - Which said another way means we run all our applications in ‘The Cloud’.
We host all our applications at Cincinnati Bell Technology Solutions, a world class provider of comprehensive management for storage, servers, security, communications equipment, network, and IT infrastructure - So all of your business applications and information are secure and safe.
To learn more about cloud computing, click this link: Cloud Computing
To download a copy of the Frost & Sullivan survey, click this link: Frost & Sullivan Survey
To learn more about OnTrak’s cloud computing-based solutions, click this button:
OnTrak Software Blog Named One of the Top 10 POS Blogs
For the second year in a row, OnTrak's company blog has been recognized as one of the Top 10 Point-of-Sale (POS) Blogs in an article in The Point of Sales News, an online magazine for the POS industry.
The OnTrak blog, available at www.ontraksoftware.com/blog, was labeled as a helpful resource that assists readers in saving money with their POS systems.
The blog offers valuable insight on topics such as:
Managing the entire POS marketing process - order, production and placement
Tracking POS costs and supplier bill-back recovery
POS measurement vs. sales performance - Business intelligence and reporting tools
Print shop outsourcing - Pros and Cons
The recognition was published in a December 20, 2012 article at Point of Sale News.
OnTrak invites everyone to join the discussion and address the ongoing challenge of measuring the impact and profitability of POS marketing initiatives that cost the beverage industry billions of dollars each year.
To see some of OnTrak's recent blog discussions click these links:
We appreciate your feedback so please let us know what you think by adding your comments to any of our blog entries.
OnTrak's mission is to provide superior business solutions that drive growth and value for beverage distributors.
Our software products help beer, wine and spirits distributors TRACK, MEASURE and MANAGE their POS and marketing communications materials including custom signs, permanent displays, beverage menus and beverage samples.
For more information about OnTrak Software please click:
A Game Plan for Point-of-Purchase Excellence – Path to Purchase Institute
Strategies for cutting waste and improving execution in company-wide Point-of-Purchase (POP) efforts
This Path To Purchase Institute white paper underwritten by RockTenn in collaboration with A.T. Kearney examines strategies for cutting waste and improving execution in company-wide P-O-P efforts.
Please read the following executive summary and see why OnTrak Software is so excited about this research. One of our customers, a very large beverage distributor, is specifically mentioned on Page 11 of the whitepaper. The article mentions how they use SignTrak to streamline POP ordering and track sales information to increase profitability and capture market share.
Most CPG companies allow multiple internal groups with differing priorities to plan, develop and execute P-O-P, making the entire system difficult to manage and almost impossible to measure.
Senior management would save money by forming an in-house committee to plan and oversee P-O-P company-wide
Metrics are just as important to P-O-P programs as they are to the core business. Creating a feedback loop of program results will enhance ROI in future efforts.
Establishing deeper, long-term relationships with key suppliers can lead to P-O-P programs that are more cost-efficient, innovative and successful in building business.
Field sales must be held accountable for display execution through evaluation metrics, budget responsibility and incentive programs.
Marketers who've already implemented these recommendations report sales lifts of up to 12%, unit cost reductions as high as 45% and speed-to-market increases of up to 50%.
Those savings could be redeployed to better-conceived in-store efforts that are targeted more effectively
There are three reasons beverage distributors choose OnTrak Software.
A single point-of-control for Print Shop Management including the ordering, production and placement of signs and menus, and Inventory Control and Asset Management of permanent signs and product samples
Lower ordering and production expense for POP signs and displays, and tracking and management of both the cost of POP materials and the recovery of supplier marketing co-op dollars
Measurement of the marketing effectiveness of POP marketing campaigns with OnTrak's Integrated Analysis and Reporting Tools
Click on the following link to download the full report: A Game Plan for P-O-P Excellence
To learn more about OnTrak Products click this button:
America’s Beer Distributors Generate 130,000 Direct Jobs, $54 Billion in U.S. Economic Benefits
New Study Measures Jobs, Economic Impact and Community Service
Posted January 17, 2013 at NBWA - News - Press Release Features
ALEXANDRIA, VA – The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) today released a new economic impact report – America’s Beer Distributors: Fueling Jobs, Generating Economic Growth & Delivering Value to Local Communities – that provides the first-ever comprehensive report on beer distribution companies’ total impact on national and state economies.
The report, produced by Dr. Bill Latham and Dr. Ken Lewis of the Center for Applied Business & Economic Research at the University of Delaware, provides an in-depth view of beer distributors’ economic contributions by taking into account how beer distributor activities are intertwined with many parts of the economy, especially the personal services sector. The report also accounts for the amount of resources contributed by beer distributors in supporting community events and local economic development, contributing to charitable causes and promoting responsible alcohol use and adds the impacts of these activities to the usual impacts of distributor operations.
“The beer distribution sector is a hidden gem that has been tremendously undervalued in previous economic reports,” said Dr. Latham. “Fueling more than 345,000 direct and indirect jobs, beer distributors add $54 billion to the nation’s gross domestic product and offer far reaching benefits to brewers, retailers, consumers and government agencies at all levels.”
Key findings of the new economic impact study include:
- The beer distribution industry directly employs more than 130,000 people in the United States.
- When the impacts of distributor capital investment and community involvement are considered, the total number of impact jobs exceeds 345,000.
- Beer distributors add $54 billion to the nation’s gross domestic product.
- Beer distributor activities contribute nearly $10.3 billion to the federal, state and local tax bases. This does not include the nearly $11 billion in federal, state and local alcohol excise and consumption taxes.
- The beer distribution industry contributes more than $22 billion in transportation efficiencies for the beer industry each year.
- Beer distributor contributions to local community activities generate $175 million in impacts annually.
“With more than 3,300 independent beer distribution companies directly employing more than 130,000 hardworking men and women in communities across the country, America’s beer distribution industry provides significant economic value,” said NBWA President & CEO Craig Purser.
“Distributors deliver economic benefits in their communities through local business-to-business commerce, investments in local infrastructure and capital assets and tax revenue. They provide services that improve efficiency for trading partners, especially small brewers and retailers, and they ensure fair prices and a broad selection of products for consumers to enjoy. This new economic impact report offers a thorough look at many of these previously unreported economic benefits.”
To view the Full Report, including state by state data, please visit www.nbwa.org.
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About OnTrak Software
OnTrak Software provides point-of-sale / point-of-purchase (POS/POP) marketing management software to beer distributors, helping them track their POS/POP costs and effectiveness of their marketing investment.
To learn more about OnTrak, click this button:
What is the Signage Foundation, Inc?
Most of the OnTrak Software blogs, white papers and case studies come from a marketing perspective – How to use Point-of-Sale (POS) promotions, typically signs, to increase sales and profitability.
I recently received an email from the University of Cincinnati Economics Center inviting me to participate in the Signage Foundation Inc. (SFI) - National Signage Research & Education Conference.
The SFI apparently looks at signage from an economic perspective. The invitation noted:
“Over the past year, our research on the ‘Economic Value of On-Premise Signs’ has involved collecting data on thousands of businesses through hundreds of surveys and several case studies. We are now preparing to present some key findings from our research at the National Signage Research & Education Conference, October 9-11, 2012. For those interested in this research, we want to personally invite you to the conference.”
Imagine this: OnTrak Software is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, and I’ve never heard of the National Signage Research & Education Conference or the Signage Foundation Inc.
Two Perspectives on Signage
I immediately went to SFI’s website (www.thesignagefoundation.org). In my opinion it appears the SFI approach is to research and report on the economic impact of signage - Quite different from our perspective. Our view of signage, which we call POS or POP, focuses on those marketing campaigns and materials that are used to promote sales - And more importantly turn shoppers into buyers.
We believe that effective Point-of-Sale (POS) Marketing Management will improve both sales and profits.
OnTrak has published a POS Marketing Management Whitepaper which goes into more details on this topic. You can request a copy of our whitepaper by clicking this button:
The Economic Value of Signs Research Study
Although it is possible to interpret the benefits of improved sales as “economic benefits,” we’ve generally taken the approach that signage helps create sales and profits, or “financial benefits”. SFI takes a much broader view of signage. The following is the description of one of the breakout sessions planned for the October 2012 conference:
The University of Cincinnati researchers have been investigating the question of sign impacts for over fifteen years. Their research study – ‘Economic Impact of On-Premise Signs’, the Signage Foundation, has produced an in-depth examination and critical study of on-premise signs and environmental signage to evaluate their immediate and long term impact within the physical, economic and aesthetic environments.”
This conference presentation will focus on several key questions for businesses and communities:
- What does the research show about the various purposes that on-premise signs serve for businesses?
- Given those purposes, what is the economic value of those signs for businesses?
- What differences exist between various types of businesses in the purpose and value of signs?
- How do communities and consumers benefit from on-premise signs?
This research has significant implications. Nearly all businesses have a need for effective on-premise signs to help them succeed. To the extent that signs and sign regulations promote or hinder business activity, there is an impact on the vitality of commercial areas and the tax collections of local governments.”
This Signage Foundation session, like most of the conference’s sessions, is being presented by economics professors, civil engineers, lawyers, urban planning professors and professors of signage and visual marketing, and not by marketing professors. That's interesting.
But I have reviewed the SFI objectives and vision and it appears that those of us who work to improve the impact and ROI of point-of-sale marketing may be able to gain valuable insights from SFI’s research (available for download from their website.) If you’re interested in attending the conference on October 9 – 11, here in Cincinnati, please click this link: http://www.thesignagefoundation.org/conference
Beverage World Article on Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Solutions Like OnTrak Software
'Computing in the Clouds' - By Heather Landi
Beverage World – Issue 6 – June 15, 2012 – Page 59
Cloud Computing has grown from a buzzword to an emerging technology tool.
What can it do for your business?
With cost savings and IT reliability in mind, cloud computing has become a more effective technology tool for beverage distributors and manufacturers.
Generally speaking, cloud computing means data and services previously provided on a local server, which required constant software upgrades, are now stored and accessed on a virtual server, hence the phrase “in the cloud”.
According to Forrester Research, cloud-based computing is changing how beverage distributors and manufacturers manage their IT services and connect and work with their network of customers, suppliers and partners.
Many providers, like OnTrak, offer a popular Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) option, which is a standalone software provided on-demand on the Web. Typically, there is a one-time set-up fee and then a monthly service fee.
To read the complete Beverage World article, click this link Computing in the Clouds
About OnTrak Software
OnTrak Software is a technology company that develops software solutions for beverage suppliers and wholesalers as well as consumer goods companies. Our on-demand software products help improve sales and business performance through the tracking, measurement and management of Point-of-Sale Marketing campaigns and materials including custom signs, permanent displays, custom beverage menus and beverage samples.
To learn more go to:
POP Promotions Are Vital as More Shoppers Decide in Store: POPAI Study
Patricia Odell | Chief Marketer Network | Promo | Direct
May 11, 2012
The teetering economy, worries over jobs and high unemployment have kept U.S. grocery shoppers on the lookout for savings.
And in an interesting sign of the times, more purchase decisions than ever before, 76%, are being made once a customer enters the store according to a new study from POPAI.
"As in-store and shopper marketing professionals we have some areas for opportunity and improvement, said Richard Winter, POPAI president. "Even as other emerging mediums and technologies alter the path to purchase landscape, this study underscores the importance of planning the in-store experience to win over shoppers where it matters most - the point of purchase."
So how does this shopper behave differently than the pre-recession shopper?
Here are five key findings to note when developing and implementing shopper programs:
- Deciding in store - 76% of shoppers are relying on in-store marketing to make their purchase decisions
- Display your brand - or lose the battle at the shelf to get your product into the shopper’s basket
- Optimize the in-store experience -Shoppers want to get in and get out, so easy-to-find product displays are key
- Stand-out creative - sets in-store marketing apart and turns the subconscious shopper into a conscious buyer
- Non-cash shoppers susceptible to impulse purchases - They spend more than they plan to
You can obtain more information on these key findings by clicking on the link below.
We know that POP Promotions are critical to the turning shoppers into buyers. For many years we have been following POPAI’s lead, helping beverage wholesaler increase their sales and business performance through more effective point-of-sale marketing. Our software solutions track, measure and manage the impact of POP marketing campaigns and quantify POP return-on-investment vs. sales results.
To learn more about OnTrak's Shopper Marketing Management Software click the button:
BevBytes - Shopper Influence Study - POPAI
Although the Great Recession caused shoppers across all income levels to alter their beverage spending habits, the truth of the matter is that the majority of shoppers curtailed their spending voluntarily – often trading down from premium brands to less expensive brands.
While the recession has been over – technically – for more than a year and the economy is slowly growing again, shopper spending habits appear to have been changed, possibly forever.
Marketers of all stripes should consider that more money was spent by those who actually remember seeing point-of-sale materials such as signs and displays.
The lesson to be learned by beverage marketers – now that most shoppers believe we are slowly coming out of the recession – is that the investment in shopper marketing programs works to build brands; and sales increases will accompany an increase in point-of-sale promotions.
Click this link to read the entire POPAI “Shopper Influence Study" (Pages 5 - 6)
Stealing TV Shows – More Reasons to Embrace POS Marketing
Ad-skipping viewers are not thieves. They’re the future.
Time magazine contributor, James Poniewozik, “confesses” he is a thief in his June 4, 2012, Time magazine essay, Stealing the Shows.
Poniewozik writes that network TV execs are up in arms about a new feature from Dish Network available on Dish’s DVR’s called Auto Hop – or in Dish’s own TV commercials, “The Hopper”. Auto Hop essentially is an automatic “commercial skip” feature that delivers virtually commercial free programming from the Big 4 TV networks (ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC.)
Perhaps, to a certain extent, the network bosses have every right to sound the alarm – especially now that 40% of all US homes have DVR’s, and now most recorders have a handy skip-ahead feature. Auto Hop simply takes this one step further by automatically skipping ahead for you.
Before you feel too sorry for the networks, it should be noted that despite 40% DVR penetration, the networks are projected to again increase their advertising revenues in 2012. But, as Poniewozik points out, the networks have “never been too comfortable with the thought of us out there, badoop-badoop-badoop-ing through the commercials with our TiVo remotes.”
Our take on this is probably pretty predictable:
TV viewers have never really warmed up to the interruptions of their programs that ads have forced on them. When people are watching TV they’re not shopping and not buying. Aapparently they are at least somewhat resentful of advertising’s intrusion into their favorite programs.
On the other hand, when shopping at a retail store, people are shopping – and chances are they’re shopping with the intention of buying something!
Indeed, recent studies have shown that 76% of the decisions we make to actually buy something are made in the store at the point-of-sale - Usually prompted by a Point-of-Sale (POS) Marketing signs or displays.
Shoppers, at the retail location, are usually looking for an advertisement, promotion or perhaps simply product and price information – all provided by POS. In fact, it is at the retail location we consumers expect and often seek POS marketing materials.
To the beleaguered networks we say, relax, embrace the Hopper – it’s what the people want.
And to beverage manufacturers, suppliers and distributors we say embrace POS – it works!
To read Poniewozik’s June 4th Time essay, click on the following link:
Definition of Point-of-Sale Marketing - eHow Article
By Samantha Slabaugh, eHow Contributor
Point-of-Sale (POS) Marketing Attracts Shoppers at-Retail
POS marketing, commonly known as point-of-purchase advertising, attracts retail shoppers at the point of a purchase. In other words, POS marketing lures shoppers into buying additional products or services at-retail.
Point-of-sale marketing utilizes displays to catch a shopper's attention. These displays can range from signs and banners to coupon dispensers and video advertisements at the retail location. Regardless of the type of display, POS marketing often results in impulsive purchases.
Point-of-sale displays come in many shapes and forms; regardless of type, they often are eye-catching and engaging. Traditional displays and signage are the most widely and commonly used in retail stores today. These types of POS displays include specific shelf signage, kiosks, coupon dispensers and banners. Digital signage emerged in the late 2000s and has replaced many traditional print display tactics. Free samples or enticing discounts and offers often accompany POS displays.
According to Promo magazine, "Spending on P-O-P, the largest consumer promotions category, increased 2.2% to $20.79 billion in 2008, as in-store media with its ability to reach a captive audience at point-of-sale became a focus of marketing campaigns." As part of a mass market campaign, point-of-sale marketing serves as a proven medium for additional advertising.
Point-of-sale marketing generates new product awareness, trial, and ultimately, purchase. While most shoppers purchase an item they found on the shelf, offers, discounts and samples near the point of purchase often lead to shoppers switching brands. In-depth shopper marketing research prefaces POS design so marketers know which types of messages will resonate with the target audience and motivate impulse purchases.
Point-of-sale marketing is "a smart move, since nearly 30% of people wait until they are in the store to decide which brand they will buy," according to OgilvyAction's 2008 global shopper study.
(Note: A recent study by POPAI confirms that today’s in-store decision rate has reached an all-time high of 76 percent. More shoppers than ever are utilizing in-store marketing and branding cues to make purchase decisions.
Samantha has really hit the nail on the head. Typically when we talk to beverage companies, or even consumer goods companies about POS, they understand that we mean point-of-sale marketing or point-of-purchase promotions. That's because in conumer goods companies POS promotions are often their number two expense after Cost of Goods Sold.
But too often, POS means cash registers and the associated software.
It’s nice to know that someone has a definition that describes the market we serve.
To read more of Samantha’s interesting article Click Here >>
To learn more about how OnTrak Software Solutions track, measure and manage your point-of-sale marketing investments: