What’s the point of point of sale?

Timeguard’s approach to packaging and POS material is no accident. Market research conducted by the company with installers has proven invaluable. Interestingly, installers had no time for gimmicks and promotions. They simply wanted to be able to locate and identify products at their local wholesaler’s and said that good point-of-sale information was important to them. Timeguard’s Managing Director, Andy Douglas, explains…

Timeguard has been standing out for the quality of its point of sale materials and full-colour packaging for several years now. They are of course not cheap to produce and, in a market that is price sensitive, there were a lot of raised eyebrows from competitors when we first broke cover with colourful packaging with just about everything you need to know about the product on the box or clam shell.

By communicating the benefit directly, we saw a way of add value to our innovative products and create even more margin opportunities for you. Has it been money well spent? Well the market doesn’t lie and branded quality really has been able to stand out and keep lower packaging goods at bay, so clearly the answer has to be yes.

What’s most important to installers?

That’s not to say that we took investing in “your” point of sale for granted. In 2014, and knowing we had a pipeline of new products to bring to market, we asked 250 installers what was most important to them when it came to sales and marketing support. Their answers were good news for the wholesaler channel.

These installers were a cross section of users of time controllers, LED lighting and PIR controllers, so they give a good overview of what your customer look for. You will be pleased to know that ‘over the trade counter’ was still the preferred way of buying – more than 60% of respondents preferred that to online or telephone orders. Asked what they looked for at the wholesaler, it was not gimmicks and promotions that topped the list, but being able to locate and identify products easily, and good point-of-sale information. Promotions came last in their list of priorities.

Not surprisingly, reliability is important, but respondents rated ease of installation equally highly as a factor in choosing products – after all time is money. So showing how easy products are to wire is a big plus at the counter. No plain brown box can do that.

Installers’ preferences

Installers’ behaviour and preferences varied depending on what they were buying. For time switches, packaging rated as the most important factor. Time switches are no longer all the same and just ‘commodity products’: design and extra features like zoning, boost timing and integral FCUs are now available, so being able to see at a glance what the specification is and what the product looks like is clearly important. Trusted branding was the next consideration before deciding on the time switches required.

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Moving onto PIRs and LED lighting, the factors determining installers’ choices are slightly different, perhaps because this market is still quite young and we’ve not really had time to test the reliability and longevity of so many different products, and where there have been some reports of rogue products. So, it comes as no surprise then, that branding is the most important factor for installers when choosing these products.

We were pleased with the results of the survey, and will continue to put our money in the right place. We back up our innovative design, quality, ease of installations and reliability together with clear packaging and display materials.

Manufacturers cannot, it turns out, hide behind a website. There’s no getting away from the need to communicate at the trade counter and we all have to invest in better quality point of sale materials and display packaging. That puts you in a buyers’ market to choose the displays that add most value to your showroom and counter.

So to answer my question “What’s the point of point of sale?” – it’s there to make life easier on both sides of the counter.

www.timeguard.com