One Blog |July 10, 2018 | POS Tracking Software

What’s the Future of POS Marketing for Beverage Alcohol Distributors?

Mark Fullerton

OnTrak’s Focus

OnTrak has been working with beverage alcohol distributors for more than 11 years, helping them to track, measure, and manage their point-of-sale (POS) marketing campaigns and promotions.

Over that long period of time we’ve seen lots of articles and scholarly studies, including our own blog, that discuss the decline of “print” in terms of its deployment as a media for marketing.

Of course, these types of writings are now becoming quite rare because “print” advertising, especially for beverage alcohol, has proven to be much less effective for impacting sales, compared to marketing at the point-of-sale.

The famous criminal, Willie Sutton, was once asked why he robbed banks, and his response was simple, eloquent, and humorous: “Because that's where the money is.”

So, if “at-retail” is where the “where the money is”, in terms of increasing beverage alcohol sales, then that’s why OnTrak wants to be there.

OnTrak develops and delivers software tools for distributors to help them gain maximum benefit from their investments in POS marketing.

The Importance of POS Marketing

I had intended this blog to continue the previous two blogs themes of “analytics, dashboard (data visualization), and business intelligence,” until I recently ran across a number of articles in online versions of several trade publications that focused on advertising, marketing, sales and the business trends for consumer-packaged goods which include beverages.

So, let’s switch the focus to a discussion of the growing importance of POS Marketing before a brief dive into POS analytics.

Engage with Your Customers Where They Can Buy — Using Signs

What’s the Future of POS Marketing for Beverage Alcohol Distributors?First off, print advertising, although not literally dead, is generally hanging on by a thread.

But, while that may be true, you may be surprised about where “print” is not only alive and well but is actually growing in importance.

In our case “print” means point-of-sale (POS) advertising signs that are typically printed by the distributor in their own print shop. This type of print media is actually growing in importance where there is a physical interaction between the shopper and the product at-retail.

This does not suggest we should conclude that Amazon is not a threat to beverage alcohol distributors, but it does indicate that beer, wine, and spirits distributors will be relying on signage at-retail for some time to come.

Perhaps we should remain bullish on “print” and use it to increase sales.

The Reason To Be Bullish On POS

Printed signage at the point-of-sale is a market-specific form of media; and despite digital’s apparent ascendancy, POS is becoming — in 2018 — even more important than ever before.

Beverage shoppers actually rely on printed signs to help them make their selection when they are in the retail aisle. At-retail, in-store shoppers, as opposed to online shoppers, become buyers because of signs.

But signs, at-retail, can be digital. Correct?

Yes, but the cost of digital (See Note) is still an issue and shoppers are starting to be “blinded by the light” of digital. They don’t fully see it now, but digital is less novel.

Print offers an alternative at the point-of-connection between shopper and product.

This blindness to some things digital is one of the reasons POS signage has had new life breathed into it.

Those relatives of yours who send out birthday cards via the US mail do so not because they can’t figure out how to send an “e-card.” They do so because when they send you a physical card, they make you feel special. For this reason and for the foreseeable future, POS signs have a new lease on life.

All Signs — Like All Politics — Are Local

Of course, one of the things that POS continues to excel at is being super-local.

For years POS has been able to be individual store-centric. When a shopper is looking for beer, wine, and spirits at their local convenience or grocery store, distributors are able to develop POS signage specific to the store and its customers.

At the same time that point-of-sale signs are actually becoming more important to beverage alcohol sales, it appears that traditional advertising (expensive TV advertising campaigns) for beverage alcohol is apparently proving to be less effective in facilitating sales.

The reasons include the relatively low cost of point-of-sale signs that actually do work to generate sales when the intended customer is actually shopping at the retail location where the product can be purchased.

All POS Is Not Created Equal — So The Need For Analytics

I wish point-of-sale marketing was as simple as printing and placing signs and knowing that the the customers who saw your placement would buy your brands.

But it’s increasingly difficult to just place signage and reap the rewards of increased sales. The issue is, of course, knowing what POS works and what doesn’t.

All POS is not created equal, that is.

Here then is where we can return to the subject of POS analytics and automated tools to help you and your sales and marketing teams track, measure, and manage all your POS initiatives to determine the ROI of your POS management tool and the ROI of your various POS campaigns.

While you may not know it yet, very soon you will need such a POS management tool in order to keep up with your competition that does.

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Note: It is correct to say that a digital ad posted on the pages of a website is less costly than a printed sign when potential reach is considered. But, in the aisle at retail, digital’s tremendous reach advantage is reduced to virtually zero. Considering cost, printed signs displayed at the point-of-sale continue to provide tremendous richness of message.

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For more information on how OnTrak’s POS Tracking Software helps distributors track, measure and manage their POS Marketing campaigns click on either of the following two links for find out what we know about:

Beer Distributors

Wine & Spirits Distributors

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To request a live, 30-minute demonstration of our POS Tracking Software, please call our product experts on 513-936-4041, or click the button and select the one or more products from the following list:

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SignTrak - Custom Printed Signs

MenuTrak - Custom Beverage Menus

PermaTrak - Permanent Signs and Displays

SampleTrak - Beverage Samples and Tastings

*Integrated reporting and analysis tools are included in each of our POS Marketing software solutions

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