One Blog |December 6, 2019 | Blog

3 Observations About Winning at-Retail in Today’s Changing Market

Mark Fullerton

901 Words | 7 Minute Read

Observation 1:


The world of beverage-alcohol brands is ever-growing, evolving, and “becoming” something new (and different). I am assuming you agree with that observation.


Observation 2:


Although shoppers are certainly not price-insensitive, the price for beer, wine, and spirits is — within boundaries — less important today than it was even a few short years ago. Today, just being $1.00 less (on an $8.99 six-pack) isn’t unimportant, but we’re learning that customers are interested in the product’s other attributes: What its “flavor profile” might be, what foods it pairs with, what it could be mixed with — even its “story” (especially if it is a craft beer or a new to the market wine.)


Observation 3:

Shoppers — and consumers — are spoiled for choice. Wine “labels”? Well, at any one time there are well over 110,000 wines available in the US market. Large (even many medium-sized) wine and spirits WDs may have north of 50,000 SKUs. What makes one Cab or Merlot or IPA or Tequila stand out from the crowd?


That the answer is — in no small measure — point-of-sale advertising/marketing (POS)can be that final “push” to convert shoppers into buyers.


To make sure your advertising is most effective, it's important for your branding to be as unique as your brand itself. You can no longer rely on the “price sells” approach and focus your POS on telling the shopper yours is the least expensive fill-in-the-blank beer.


Your customer may show a preference for Dos Equis over Corona — but if Corona is priced by at least a $1.00 lower, that preference may disappear.


The point is that you — as a wholesale distributor (responsible for retail marketing materials for the brands you represent) — are no longer solely selling “the price” of the product, you are, today, selling the product. You are marketing, not just advertising, the brands you sell.


This point is not as obvious as it may seem as you see these words in print. Many beverage-alcohol distributors approach is still to get signage “touting the price” out the door with insufficient thought to what message might be even more effective.


Before moving forward, it is important for you to understand that we’re not — in this blog or anyplace else — even pretending to suggest what the right POS program or type is nor what the right message is for your brands and in your market.  Rather, we’re wanting to suggest that it is important, most likely critical, for you and your team to work to determine what POS investments produce a positive outcome: Profitable performance.


Studies have shown — proven, really — that the right POS, correctly placed can increase sales, sometimes by well over 100%. But many POS investments fall far short because other than noting this beer is priced $1.00 off this week virtually nothing else is done other than putting the sign on the shelf and hoping for the best.


“It can be worse with permanent POS — which is sometimes placed not where it will work but where it will fit!” — a New England beer distributor


For several years, we’ve often referred to POS as “POS initiatives or campaigns or programs” because our products can be used to help marketers (like you) track, measure, and manage your considerable investment (number two, after payroll) in at-retail or “shopper influencing” POS materials. There is — or at least we are 100% convinced there should be — an expectation that a POS program will have an impact in the aisle where shoppers can turn into buyers. Unfortunately, POPAI at-retail studies conclude that only sixty-percent of POS is “effective” — which includes POS materials that contain an effective message and are effectively placed.


Other studies have pointed to the nearly 50% of POS that is ordered and somehow ends up in the dumpster!


What many of our customers and our research has taught us is that effective POS program development and correct at-retail placement is most challenging when it is not able to be reliably and repeatedly tracked from ordering to production, placement, and measurement of results.


POS that can’t be tracked thusly doesn’t contribute to a positive at-retail experience for the shopper or a profitable outcome for the wholesaler (or the retailer, for that matter.)


One last study I’ll reference is by Retail Info Systems, who concluded that most at-retail “lost sales” are due to missing or poorly placed point-of-sale and other poor at-retail merchandising initiatives. 


I’d be remiss if I didn’t suggest that in addition to making your POS initiatives’ message more than about price, it is vital that you have a customizable POS tracking tool that you and your reps can use to not only order their POS, but one that allows you to increase your POS’ effectivity by measuring the results of your at-retail marketing programs and verifying placement, sales lift, and therefore, improve your abilities to achieve repeatable results for all of your POS initiatives.


About Us


For over 12 years of customer-driven progress, OnTrak Software has been exclusively providing wholesale beverage-alcohol distributors — of all sizes — with the point-of-sale program tracking tools they need to succeed in a constantly changing market. Our experienced team develops, implements, and supports leading-edge technology for our customers, companies like yours. Our products are dedicated to helping you make POS more efficient and effective — improving your POS ROI is our mission and we are uniquely qualified to deliver the best software tools for our customers in 34 states and counting.

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