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The North American Integrated Point-of-Purchase Market Opportunity


Point-of-Purchase (POP) advertising represents the last opportunity to influence buyers, but in many cases POP expenditures and effectiveness are largely unmeasured and un-quantified. As important as POP is to both manufacturers and retailers, demand is growing for a more integrated and disciplined approach to POP production and display.

InfoTrends’ new research study, Integrated Point-of-Purchase: A Market Opportunity Assessment, defines the POP market, explores the vertical segments therein, quantifies the market potential, documents the existing production process, and measures retailers’ and manufacturers’ satisfaction with the existing model. The study also identifies cost elements, recommends specific market and product development activities, and reveals the primary inhibitors for adopting an integrated POP production model among parties likely to be involved in purchasing decisions.

Integrated POP Definition

The term “integrated POP” may conjure up the image of in-store sign printing, with manufacturers electronically pushing print jobs to an in-store printer, where the print would be displayed, saving cycle times and transportations costs and providing a sales lift. However, POP materials are not necessarily conducive to production on one type of printing equipment. Also, it is generally not feasible for retail environments to have a wide variety of the types of printing and finishing equipment required to produce eye-catching POP materials. While the study indicates that retailers do have POP production equipment, they often outsource POP production for long runs and jobs that require finishing capabilities they do not have in-store.

InfoTrends’ examination of the POP production process has led to an understanding that it is often a rather disjointed process that requires multiple meetings, telephone calls, and e-mails at several different points in the process. This is not an integrated process.

A manufacturer decides they want to increase sales of a specific product so they contact an ad agency or marketing services company to develop a POP campaign. The ad agency or marketing services company then contracts the design work to a designer. Branding messages, corporate logos, and stock photography are then e-mailed around, the designer combines these elements into a design. The design is submitted to the ad agency or marketing service company who, if they approve, submits the design to the manufacturer for their approval. Variations on this process include manufacturers with in-house ad agency, marketing services, and graphic designers who can develop all of these materials internally. In each case there are also at least two major process bottlenecks at the review and approval step and where printer lead times are required.

An alternative, more integrated, process is one where the marketing service company takes a greater role in the production and customization of POP materials. These marketing service companies work closely with manufacturers to develop a set of templates that can be applied to the manufacturers’ POP materials and leverage digital printing capabilities to make short run printing more cost effective.

Key Market Observations

There are a number of obstacles to integrated POP adoption including:

  • Lack of confidence in personnel at store level
  • Lack of initiative at retail
  • Lack of awareness of integrated POP production systems
  • Reluctance to relinquish control
  • Reluctance to undergo workflow reengineering
  • The feeling that process re-engineering that ends in printed POP materials does not go far enough

InfoTrends has developed a number of strategic recommendations for printer hardware companies to consider when evaluating attacking the POP market. Printer manufacturers should investigate co-development, marketing, and distribution opportunities with print service provider networks with national and regional fulfillment capabilities.

Figure 1: Integrated POP – Solutions development needed

Printer manufacturers should attempt to develop, or partner with RIP suppliers, to develop front-end solutions that offer some of the capabilities, such as design templates, reminders, and job tickets, that could reduce some of the review and approval process bottlenecks. Printer manufacturers also need to develop the skills or sales force with the capabilities to do a comprehensive needs analysis for retailers to be sure they are not trying to sell them excess capacity or the wrong solution. Printer manufacturers and print service providers should consider ways to inform people at the marketer level (ad agencies and marketing services companies) about the capabilities of their printing equipment. Marketers have a role in the specification and selection of printing companies and should be aware of the advanced printing technologies that allow for cost effective POP materials production.

One of the key findings is that even with its apparent problems; manufacturers do not seem to be dissatisfied with the existing process. While they do understand that customized POP materials would benefit sales, they are unwilling to pay the higher cost to develop customized POP materials that would be digitally printed. Because manufacturers and retailers can already do a lot with less integrated but still highly capable printing equipment, and their overall satisfaction with existing processes is not low, which combined, likely means is that Integrated POP will have a small impact in the coming years until a scaleable end-to-end integrated POP production solution is developed.

The preceding is an excerpt from InfoTrends’ study entitled “Integrated Point-of-Purchase: A Market Opportunity Assessment.” The complete document is available immediately. To learn more about the study or to make a purchase, contact Scott Phinney at +1 , ext. 123 or .

Copyright © 2007 InfoTrends. All rights reserved. Reproduction or reuse of InfoTrends materials is strictly prohibited without prior written consent. If you are interested in referencing InfoTrends’ content, please submit your request to .


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