One Blog |November 8, 2017 | Point-of-Sale Marketing Software

Why Point-of-Sale Marketing is Increasingly Important to Beverage Alcohol

Mark Fullerton

The Impulsive Shopper

Most of us believe that shoppers continue to become more impulsive as every day passes. 

We also know that the more “elegant” way of saying this is to say that more and more shoppers are making more and more “unplanned purchases.” When we are at the place and time that we can actually see a product, buy it and – in some cases – even consume it, we are often our happiest, at least as shoppers. 

The reasons for this impulsive behavior are many – and I’m not here to describe or debate them.

I’m here primarily to recognize such behavior exists and perhaps describe how to make the most of the opportunity presented by our collective shopper behaviors.

A not unexpected by-product of impulse buying is the constantly increasing buying decisions at the point of sale. 

Persuasive Marketing

Persuasive Marketing - Why Point-of-Sale Marketing is Increasingly Important to Beverage AlcoholMost shoppers who actually make unplanned purchases are, according to several studies, nudged to do so by persuasive point-of-sale (POS) marketing materials. 

That means POS that is properly placed; often has eye-catching presentations, and describes some exciting promotions or attractive pricing that absolutely convinces the shopper the item is a bargain, or at least a good value. 

In the case of many alcoholic beverages, placement can take a back seat to the message conveyed by POS: That message can be aspirational or simply announce that a certain brand of Lager or Chianti, normally priced at $19.95 is on sale at $15.95. Of course, if the POS also notes that the beer or wine has received a special award, that will often move the needle closer to “buy,” too.

Today, the typical supermarket can carry thousands of unique beer and wine SKU’s and in such an environment, your distributor’s Lager or Chianti brand needs to stand out on a crowded shelf by being represented with great looking POS – and a strong “buy” message.

The Importance of a Strong, Localized, At-Retail Message

Another reason POS is of growing importance for alcoholic beverages is the need to “localize” the message

National TV spots are, well, “national,” and they don’t, and can’t, really carry a strong “buy” message for the entire diverse, national market. 

Shopping at-retail is intimate and local. The message that persuades in Boston possibly dissuades in Biloxi. 

In other words, as geographic “markets” become more and more important to alcoholic beverage suppliers’ bottom lines, local and regional distributors – who create and place virtually all POS – must adjust the national marketing message to suit the local and regional market they serve.

Seasonal Marketing

But even the preceding doesn’t fully explain the continued increase in the importance of POS. 

Alcoholic beverages are seasonal.

Beer, although certainly consumed year-round, has its seasons: Summer and Football. As the warm season wanes, POS can keep beer sales moving with fall and winter promotions and some discounts, too. 

For example, Stella Artois over the past several years has managed to craft a Christmas message that compliments and builds upon their rest of the year aspirational message. 

Wine and Spirits, also consumed year-round, certainly have their season: “OND&J” (October through January). 

However Wine and Spirit POS summer promotions can keep corks a-poppin’ and cocktails a-makin’ despite the lack of a chill in the air. 

POS vs. Traditional Media Marketing

It has become increasingly difficult for traditional media to do little more than sustain product and brand family “mind-share.”

And it has become obvious that it takes POS to drive actual buy transactions. 

Although every marketing channel certainly has value, increasingly it is believed by many industry research and consulting firms that lifestyle and “speed of living” changes have elevated unplanned shopping trips and unplanned purchases to all-time highs.

Couple that with beverage alcohol brand and type proliferation, and POS becomes the most effective and efficient method to introduce new brands and products to the market and increase the sales of existing products. 

POS – The Key Driver at-Retail

Since we work closely with beverage alcohol distributors, we know that POS is a primary driver of the buy transaction at-Retail. 

For a moment, let’s assume we all agree on this premise. 

What needs to be examined next by all beverage alcohol distributors is how to leverage your POS initiatives and budget to optimize, if not outright maximize, POS’s impact and ROI. 

OnTrak’s Experience

In the ten years that OnTrak has been in business, I cannot recall a single distributor who would argue against the effectiveness of POS in selling more of the products they distribute to the geographic retail market they serve. 

It would also be virtually impossible to find any distributor – other than OnTrak users – who doesn’t complain their POS in-house production facilities are like financial “black holes.” Distributor’s often complain, too, that they have no way to determine:

  • How much POS they produce or purchase, 
  • How much POS they deploy by customer or by brand, and 
  • What actually happens as a result of a particular POS “event” or season of the year, etc. 

What most distributors tell us is they have no way to track or measure their POS activities, results and spending – and therefore no way to control and manage it.

If you are a beverage alcohol supplier or wholesaler and want to create effective, efficient and manageable POS campaigns, you must track and measure the ordering, production and procurement of the materials and promotions you deploy. 

A distributor’s main mission consists of sales, distribution and logistics. To fully achieve and manage that mission distributors need to use the POS Tracking Tools developed by OnTrak to gain the competitive advantage you need in today’s impulsive shopper climate.
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