March 13, 2019

CPG Innovation: Why Your Point-of-Purchase Displays Are Your Secret Weapon

This article is the second in a 3-part series on how Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) brands can work with suppliers and retail partners to continually innovate to renew their relationships with their customers. In this installment, I’m going to talk about the importance of updating your Point-of-Purchase (POP) displays to make sure your brand stands out so shoppers take notice.

CPG manufacturers are in an odd position when it comes to a consumer’s buying journey. They invest enormous resources into developing and marketing their products, and working with co-packers and retail partners to get the product onto retail shelves … but they don’t really have any control at the point-of-purchase.

Challenging, right? After all, if a customer relationship is key to building brand loyalty, what do you do when you don’t really own the complete customer experience? 

For non Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) brands, the end customer experience is pretty much in the hands of the retailers. And those retailers aren’t just selling your product. They’re maximizing their own sales and profits by offering their shoppers lots of choices.

So with all the noise at the point-of-purchase, how do you make sure your product stands out?

As I discussed in the first post in this series, product packaging is one way to stand out from the crowd — but it isn’t everything. While product packaging can differentiate your brand, the truth is that consumers are facing a sea of products as soon as they walk into any retail store.

Most CPG manufacturers rely on in-store marketing to give themselves an advantage over the competition. That’s where POP displays come in.

In-Store POP Displays Are A Golden Opportunity to Stand Out

POP displays have been a staple for CPG manufacturers in retail stores for decades. From smaller counter-top displays to larger floor stands, every POP display has one single goal: to grab a consumer’s attention and get them to throw that product into their shopping cart.

While a shopper may already be familiar with your brand and even have purchasing intent for your product, the POP display is actually targeting someone else: the Impulse Buyer.

According to a poll from, 5 out of 6 Americans admit to impulse buying, with 79% of those purchases being made in brick-and-mortar stores. That represents a huge opportunity for CPG brands that rely primarily on retailers to get their product into the hands of their customers.

Whether they’re shopping off a list or not, most consumers can be swayed by in-store marketing. The key is to create an emotional connection with your product. That’s why the design of your POP display is so important. From visual elements to marketing messages and calls to action, a well-executed POP display can turn an indifferent shopper into an enthusiastic buyer.

Bottom line? If you aren’t displaying your brand in the store in a compelling way, the chances that your product will end up in a shopping cart are a lot smaller. It’s that simple.

According to the 2016 P-O-P Trends Survey from the Path to Purchase Institute, CPG brand executives reported that 60% of their POP display spending goes to temporary or promotional displays, compared to 40% for permanent displays.

What do those numbers tell us? The fact that more than half the typical POP display budget is earmarked for temporary displays suggests that CPG brands understand the need to constantly update and innovate on their POP displays.

3 Reasons You Need to Keep Your POP Displays Fresh

Innovation in product marketing is table stakes for any CPG brand — especially in this day and age, when consumers have more choice (and more shopping channels) than ever before. Competition has never been fiercer, and CPG manufacturers are battling it out on the retail shelves.

It’s not hard to see why. In a recent study by Field Agent Canada, Canadian shoppers were asked to rank images of different in-store displays (across several categories), based on criteria like stopping power, strength of offer, uniqueness and conversion power. Overall, the 15 displays they tested had an average impact score of 5.5 out of 10.


Here are three great reasons to keep your POP displays fresh — and evolving.

1. The Novelty Always Wears Off

Even the most compelling POP display eventually melts into the background. That’s because people stop noticing them and move on once they’ve seen them a few times.

You see, as humans, our brains are wired to look for patterns. It’s what helped us evolve and survive. When we come across something different, we stop and pay attention because we need to process that difference and figure out how it fits into our overall understanding of the environment. But when we assimilate that information — when we become accustomed to it — we stop noticing.

That’s the problem with POP displays that never change. Your POP display may be innovative and eye-catching when it first goes up, but eventually, it becomes part of the scenery.

It’s important that you keep re-engaging consumers with your brand through fresh and innovative displays, even if you’re only changing it to create a seasonal message, like this one:

Coke Seasonal POP display
Source: Pinterest

2. New Products Need to Get More Attention

According to data from the 2016 P-O-P Trends Survey, product marketers say that POP displays are most essential — and retailers are most receptive — when they support a new product launch.

Which makes sense, right? As I’ve noted before, the average consumer is exposed to 3,000 advertising and promotional messages a day. How is a new product, even with the most compelling packaging, going to stand out on the shelf? Chances are pretty high that it won’t.

Using a POP display for a new product launch is another opportunity to re-introduce your brand to your potential customers. Check out this POP display from ice cream maker Magnum when they introduced a new ice cream treat:

Elaborate? Yes. Compelling? Most definitely.

3. Your Competitors Are Innovating Too

One more reason you should be continually updating and evolving your POP displays: You can bet your competitors are doing the same thing.

In fact, according to the above-mentioned P-O-P Trends Survey, 1 in 5 respondents say they’re experimenting with some form of digital shopper-content delivery that’s integrated with in-store displays. And of those, 2 out of 3 say these experiments have been “very effective.”

But you don’t need to go high-tech to create a compelling POP display. Take the example of Harry’s Razor end-cap display: When the displays were first deployed, they included huge 4′ tall razors designed to stop shoppers in their tracks. Later, they updated the displays and replaced the giant razors with a die cut of a guy standing in front of a mirror in his boxer shorts, trying to shave.

Compelling POP Displays Boost Product Sales

POP displays are one of the hardest-working parts of your product marketing collateral. They bring your brand to life where your customers are making their buying decisions: in the store.

But you need to re-invent your POP displays on a regular basis to avoid getting lost in the noise.

When you work with a co-packer on your POP displays, make sure you work with a team that understands your internal processes and has a proven method to manage a project all the way through retailers’ systems to speed development, approvals and execution.

In other words, you want a co-packing partner, not just a supplier.

Need help with your next POP display campaign? Reach out to Ravenshoe Group today — I’d love to talk.


  1. Amazing article Greg! Like you mentioned, POP displays are great when used correctly. They are cost-effective and can grab customer attention. These have been used for years to target impulse buying.

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