In-store broadcast is set to grow in popularity but integration is Key,
If TV and radio advertising is the most effective way to penetrate a consumer's subconscious, then live point of purchase material, such as bespoke in-store television and radio, must be the most immediate and effective way to influence the contents of the shopper's trolley. But marketers are divided over whether the results justify the initial investment.
One company that has made the leap into the most costly and sophisticated kind of broadcast POP -- plasma screens -- is Gadgetshop.com. The store, which specialises in the latest leisure wizardry, needed to communicate its affinity with all things techie as soon as shoppers entered the store.
It has recently opened a flagship store in London's Oxford Street operating two 40-inch plasma screens, plus an eight-cube video wall, also via an audio-visual hard disc system from Imagesound. The system plays a mix of pop videos and still images, which integrate with the store's more traditional printed point of purchase material. Gadgetshop. com marketing manager Gary Donoghue says: "It's proving very successful. It's touch of a button technology, which matches our image."
Imagesound sales and marketing director Graham Clark says: "Our music and messaging system can be broadcast either via an in-house audio system or plasma screens and TV monitors. It's proving a really valuable system for retailers wanting a dynamic point of purchase solution. This is truly re tail theatre."
Counting the cost
But live POP isn't restricted to TV or radio -- these days technology lets marketers present customers with point of purchase material as a kiosk in a store, shopping centre, airport or supermarket or as part of a customer affinity programme on a home computer or web-enabled television. It might appear as an in-store bank of television screens offering different information and ads, integrated with printed point of purchase displays. Or it might be interactive shelf displays or bespoke store radio.
But both POP manufacturers and agencies still seem reluctant to fully commit to new technology, despite the potential threat to bricks and mortar retail by e-commerce.
Compared with traditional POP, broadcast POP's accountability has been hard to prove. The high cost of the equipment, maintenance and teams to sell the on-screen advertising means that its use has been limited to large chain stores with big budgets. There is also the question of who should foot the bill for the in-store instalment -- the advertisers or the host store. With installation costs reaching thousands of pounds, it's a touchy subject. Indeed, the cost of printed POP is estimated at around [pounds]25 per unit, while plasma screens for broadcast POP cost around [pounds]5000 per display unit.
"The effects of broadcast media are largely unproven," says Tracey Scutt, chairman of the trade body, POP Advertising International (POPAI). "Everyone knows someone who has done a prototype, but there are few concrete examples of finished campaigns.
"Motion in display is a good thing, but it needs constant refreshing in order to maintain its effectiveness, and at what cost? The cost of hardware is still too high to justify using it in many campaigns, especially with so many companies downsizing and outsourcing."
But if the use of broadcast point of purchase is not central to the industry yet, its main players still agree that it will become essential to POP campaigns in the future.
Some of the bigger names in retail, such as Asda, have run in-store radio transmissions for years. Asda FM has been managed by Hampsons since its launch in July 1993. The company co-ordinates all the advertisers (mostly Asda suppliers) and commercials, transmission logistics and editorial content -- occasionally including magazine-style features. …