One Blog |April 18, 2018 | POS Tracking Software

Why Point-of-Sale Marketing Increases in Importance for Beverage Alcohol

Mark Fullerton

Unplanned Purchases

Most shopper marketing experts believe that shoppers continue to become more impulsive.

Another perhaps more “elegant” way of saying this is: 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 unplanned behavior are many.

But I’m not here to describe or debate these reason. I'm here to recognize such behavior exists and describe how to make the most of the opportunity presented by collective shopper behaviors.

At the Point-of-Sale (POS)

Of course, an expected by-product of unplanned buying is the steady increase of buying decisions made at the point-of-sale (POS). 

Most shoppers who actually make unplanned purchases are, according to several studies, nudged to do so by informative and persuasive POS materials.  Strategically placed, eye-catching and enticing presentations and promotions may offer attractive pricing that convince the shopper the item is a bargain, or at least a good value.

Beverage Alcohol — The Importance of POS Marketing

In the case of many alcoholic beverages, placement can take a back seat to the message conveyed by POS.

The message can be aspirational or simply announce that a certain IPA or Chianti, normally priced at $19.95 is on sale at $15.95.

Of course, if the POS announces 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. In such an environment, your distributor’s IPA or Chianti needs to stand out on a crowded shelf by being represented with great looking POS — and a strong “buy” message.

Local vs. National Message

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

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

Shopping at-retail is intimate - it’s local.

The message that persuades in Boston possibly dissuades in Biloxi.

In other words, as “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/regional market they serve.

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 a primary season: Summer, with a rollover to the Football season.
  • Wine and Spirits, also consumed year-round, certainly have a season: October through January.

As the warm season wanes, POS can keep beer sales moving with fall and winter promotions and some discounts, too.

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

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

The Effectiveness of POS

Clearly, it has become increasingly difficult for traditional media to do little more than sustain product and brand families’ “mind-share.”

Just as clear, it has become obvious that it takes POS to drive transactions.

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

That, coupled with beverage alcohol SKU proliferation, POS is both the most effective and efficient method to introduce new brands and products to the market and increase the sales of existing products.

For the moment, let’s assume we agree POS actually is the primary, and in many cases the only driver of transactions at-retail.

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.

In the last ten-years since OnTrak was founded, 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 “black holes” of expenses.

What Real POS Marketing Software Provides Distributors

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 promotion (ROI)

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.

Simply being able to order POS via a connected application provides them with virtually no business intelligence and no reporting capabilities.

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.

It is ONLY possible to fully understand and manage your mission, which is first and foremost sales, with POS Tracking Software to gain the competitive advantage you need in today’s impulsive shopper climate.

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