Friday, 02 May 2014 15:09 GMT

Point-of-Sale

With the point-of-sale market proving to be varied and wide-ranging, Rob Fletcher takes a look at what products are popular and how companies can take advantage of these trends


Hit the high street


Traipsing around shopping centres at this time of year always makes me laugh. Although it only seems five minutes since the aisles were filled with ‘New Year Offers’ and ‘Last Chance Christmas Savings’ signs, we are already being subjected to similar material in the form of Easter and summer savings. Does this constant promotion never end?

Well, by the looks of the vibrant point-of-sale (POS) market, it seems it does not. And while some shoppers may find themselves slightly irritated by out-of-season offers, this is only good news for companies involved in the POS surrounding such advertising. With retailers keen to get ahead of the competition by drawing attention to their various offers, the demand for POS material is also likely to be high.

With this in mind, what type of POS is proving to be the most popular at present and what can companies do to take advantage of this exciting and unpredictable sector?

Constantly changing 

Fairfield Displays can create various types of
POS, including units that integrate digital
signage—as demonstrated here

One company that is enjoying the busy market is Fairfield Displays, a specialist supplier of a range of POS kit from simple sign holders, to fully custom-designed stands. Janice Fairfield, marketing director, says that due to the varied market, the firm is used to dealing with a range of requests.

She continues: “This area is constantly changing, but what we are seeing is that clients are looking for more semi-permanent displays that give them flexibility to change the promotions, but with a structure that has a longer life. This way cheaper substrates can be used and the brand image is maintained when an up-market look is required.”

Despite admitting that the market is constantly changing, Fairfield says the firm has picked up on a number of trends in recent times.

This area is constantly changing, but what we are seeing is that clients are looking for more semi-permanent displays that give them flexibility to change the promotions, but with a structure that has a longer life

She explains: “Large-format graphics in free-standing units are proving pop-ular. Clients are looking for something large that clearly gets the message and brand across. At Fairfield, we will design the stand and are able to include information points with flyers, digital signage, and product displays if required. Our highly-trained team of consultants based around the UK are also able to drop in and discuss individual projects.”

Despite championing the market, Fairfield does warn companies considering a move into POS to think carefully about their options. She says the fast-moving sector requires large volumes of work to be shipped out to numerous sites. However, for those confident about a move, she says Fairfield Displays is well equipped to help.

Fairfield continues: “In addition to the range of equipment, Fairfield can offer a 3D design service that really helps with selling the end project. For the large roll-outs, we can also handle the project management side and trade installation.   

“We have also just launched a range called Signware, which includes the ability for companies to create their own kiosk designs from lengths of profile—giving lots of flexibility to come up with something completely different.”

Evolution and competition

UKPOS supplies a range of products for the POS sector, including PVC shelfedge
holders

Debra Jamieson, sales and marketing director at UK Point-of-Sale (UKPOS), picks up on Fairfield’s comments about the market being ever-changing. The firm, which supplies a range of POS materials to companies, has great experience in the sector and has witnessed plenty of change.

“As the high street has had to evolve and become more competitive, the retailer’s approach in engaging with the customer and improving the overall experience has also shifted,” Jamieson says, adding: “Part of this has seen brands become more resourceful and imaginative with POS, whether as part of a dynamic visual merchandising display, a seasonal campaign, or a two-week in-store promotion.

“This has been an encouraging sign for the sector, as the retail industry has begun to work more closely with POS manufacturers to create an enriched and informative in-store experience.”

As the high street has had to evolve and become more competitive, the retailer’s approach in engaging with the customer and improving the overall experience has also shifted

Considering the market’s evolution, Jamieson points to digital as one sector that is experiencing significant growth—be it through signage, interactive screens, or tablets. In addition, Jamieson also highlights how retailers are using this digital technology and traditional printed work to attract shoppers in the modern market.

She explains: “Retailers taking this one step further are those looking for opportunities where print and digital can work together, for instance scanning a QR code featured on a piece of POS that will then direct them to a prize draw competition.”

Jamieson goes on to say that retailers have adapted their own approaches to marketing and POS usage, which in turn has led to a more ‘uplifting’ form of POS. 

“The market has definitely gained confidence, with brands much more comfortable in investing,” enthuses Jamieson, adding: “Retailers are moving away from reusing POS material and are taking a closer look at the layout and design of the store, as well as the customer journey. As a result, the POS that we’re seeing today is much fresher and more uplifting, which is very encouraging to see.”

Buoyant market

Roland DG has a range of kit on offer to help companies produce POS materials,
such as its new VersaCAMM VS-i series

Roland DG is another company involved in the POS sector, with many companies selecting the printer manufacturer’s equipment to help produce POS materials. Rob Goleniowski, business manager sign and graphics at Roland DG UK, predicts that the market will continue to flourish as the economy improves.

He explains: “The POS market is currently very buoyant and this is set to continue. There is now positive growth in the economy and increasing general optimism that things are improving. This is encouraging consumers and giving them the confidence to spend and this in turn is prompting retailers to up the ante from a marketing perspective, to drive customers to their stores—increasing the demand for more POS print work. 

“In line with this, all retailers are looking for something different to help their POS marketing and promotional materials stand out, so there is a lot of interest in white and metallic printing in this sector especially. This is a real area for rapid growth over the next couple of years, as POS becomes more and more creative in its interaction with customers.”

The POS market is currently very buoyant and this is set to continue. There is now positive growth in the economy and increasing general optimism that things are improving

With this demand in mind, Goleniowski suggests a number of Roland DG products that can assist companies, such as the Sojlet Pro4 XR-640 and the manufacturer’s new VersaCAMM VS-i series. In addition to providing kit, he is keen to highlight how the firm can assist in other ways through its Creative Centre initiative.

He continues: “We always encourage all our customers in the POS sector to come down and see our Creative Centre to explore all the possibilities for POS printing. Customers are also welcome to bring their own clients to the Creative Centre to get them excited about the exhausting range of creative POS applications that can be produced on Roland DG machines. 

“Then we have our Roland Academy courses, which have been designed to give Roland customers the knowledge and tools they need to maximise 
their investment and produce a great range of applications for their customers.”

Looking ahead to the future of POS, Goleniowski can only see the market getting busier: “The POS market is in a unique position, in that if the economy is tough, the retail sector finds it hard, so multiple sales occur that require promotional and POS print. And, when the economy recovers, marketing budgets go up, and spend on POS and marketing goes up. 
 
“With the economy showing signs of consistent recovery, now is the time for companies to be strategically assessing their current machinery and technologies, and whether what they have at the moment has the capacity and flexibility to meet future demand.”

Interactive POS

Spandex has witnessed an increased demand
for fabric and textile POS, and predicts this will
continue over the next year

The POS market requires a host of different materials and this is where companies like Spandex come in. A supplier of a range of materials, the firm has witnessed first-hand the 

peaks and troughs this sector goes through. Leon Watson, Spandex UK’s general manager, says the market is currently growing at a ‘tremendous rate’ due to the competitiveness of retailers.

He explains: “The reason behind this growth can be seen on a daily basis by walking into any retail department, where there seems to be a new branded promotion every week. Because of this, retailers seem to be changing and updating displays on a regular basis to reflect store offerings, and respond to competitive activity.

“We’re seeing a trend towards fabric and textile materials for POS over the conventional roll-up and pop-ups. LED technology is also starting to come to the forefront of the display market with more and more retailers and brands adopting this technology.”

Watson goes on to say that Spandex is well equipped to help in this sector with the firm having been ‘born out of’ modular display systems.

We’re seeing a trend towards fabric and textile materials for POS over the conventional roll-up and pop-ups. LED technology is also starting to come to the forefront of the display market with more and more retailers and brands adopting this technology

He continues: “While products like Slatz and Infopanel have remained the cornerstone of our display business, we’ve also incorporated a wider range of roll-up, pop-up, and textile display systems to grow with the needs of the market. 

“With a wide range of POS solutions and materials, we can help advise customers as to the best product for their needs, whether it’s a roll-up, pop- up, or banner display, as well as the material that’s compatible with the display solution.

“We’re seeing an increase in LED technology in the market, and in spring 2014, Spandex will launch a range of LED products as part of our expanding display product offering.”

Looking ahead, Watson believes such trends are likely to continue: “I still think the move towards textile and fabrics will grow even further over the next twelve months, as people continue to embrace the look and feel, as well as the adoption of LED technology. However, I think the main growth area will be a move to touchscreen and interactive displays. With the advent of new technology, incorporating interactive displays in POS will provide deeper engagement with the consumer.”

With a clear sense of positivity surrounding this popular sector, it is easy to see why so many companies have opted to move into the market. An interesting range of work, coupled with a growing demand from retailers, shows just how much opportunity there is. Is it time your company went ‘wild in the aisles’ with a move into POS?