So much is happening in the world of retail. Rather than being daunted by the strange trading times we live in, CSDPrint is urging its customers to stay bold and be smart. They have put together a practical guide that will help you focus on the things that really matter when it comes to printed point of sale.

What exactly is a Point of Sale Display?

Point of Sale Displays are any type of printed sales promotion found next to a product, at the end of an aisle, on a shelf, hanging from the ceiling over a display, next to a checkout or cash till or in a shop window.

Some people differentiate between point of purchase (POP) and point of sale (POS) merchandising but the vast majority of companies we work with refer to any in-store sales items as point-of-sale, so to keep things simple, we do too.

The aim of any of these promotional materials is to draw attention to your products, special offers and promotional events such as Easter, Christmas and Black Friday sales.

What point of sale items do I need?

As you are probably aware, there’s a huge range of print options to choose from when it comes to point of sale displays – everything from shop front signs, window manifestations, posters and free standing display units to strut cards and complete point-of-sale campaigns including shelf edge stickers, wobblers and pallet wraps.

Let’s break things down a little to see what you might need and why.

A really good place to start is outside of your shop. Do something you probably don’t do as often as you should. Go and stand outside and put yourself, literally in the place of your prospective customers.

Make the most of your display assets

Your windows are by far your biggest, most prominent and cost-effective advertising opportunities.

You just have to look up and down the high street to get some inspiration.

You don’t have to do a “Banksy” but the master at getting noticed could give you some ideas. Have you seen his latest foray into retail?

Bringing highly creative promotional themes to life isn’t as expensive as you might think.

Using vinyl for large printed window stickers is very cost effective. They can be stuck on the exterior of a window or the interior.

As well as large images printed onto vinyl you might want to consider cut letters or logos too. These can be any size and any colour, and can be easily replaced when you have a new offer or theme to promote.

For a more upmarket look we suggest widow posters or hanging display boards. Giant, high-quality photographs showing your products, or creative themes highlighting your offers, are extremely effective.

Not only can they be changed for each season or promotion but there are endless variations in materials, hanging styles and formats. Just take a look at one of our clients’ windows – Pure Collection – and you’ll see just what we mean.

Absolutely floor them

Having put on the best window show possible to entice your customers inside, now is the time to up the ante.

Tell them where to go using floor stickers or graphics. Point your customers in the right direction with giant themed directional signs that they can’t miss.

You can reinforce these floor signs with hanging posters and overhead printed display boards.

The aim is to enable your customers to look across the store and clearly see the section or department they are looking for.

Take a look at the floor in your store; does it work hard enough to guide people? And what if you look up above the racks and rails of products? Is there a clear plan of action hanging there too?

Don’t miss a trick on the way to specific sections of the store; try introducing free-standing display graphics like the cute chap below that we had made for Pure Collection!

They create anticipation and give customers a clear idea of what to look for when they reach the designated retail display.

Up until now the display graphics we’ve been focusing on have been large and loud, now it’s time to look at how to pack a much smaller but equally persuasive sales punch.

Your customers have reached the display racking or shelf they are interested in, what can you do to persuade them to purchase?

On a shelf-edge

Get straight to the point with tightly targeted printed sales benefits such as 2-for-1 offers, 20% off discount  and 100% recyclable. The best formats for these clever little promotions are:

  • Self-edge strips that slot into your shelving systems
  • Shelf talker signs attached to the edge of retail shelving units
  • PVC wobblers that are attached to shelf-edges or display units and move. Well, wobble!
  • Gondola end promotions including large shelf edge strips, cut out wobblers and show card headers
  • Pallet wraps made from Correx and fluted card

More often than not it is here the sales conversion is actually made.

Stand in front of your products and see what your self-edge point of sale is saying to your customers. Is it convincing? What about the savings? Have you told them about the awards the product has won? Is it clear to see what the item can be used for?

Make sure your sales messages, particularly the smallest ones, are giving it large.

Having walked in your customers’ shoes, it’s now time to put on your designer hat…

How do I make sure my artwork is print-ready?

CSDPrint works with retailers of all sizes, some have their own in-house design teams whilst others outsource all their design and artwork production. Here are a few top tips to help whoever will be preparing your artwork:

Get the best images you can

Regardless of the computer program being used to create your artwork, the key is to focus on the quality of the image. A design that looks good on a computer monitor might not look so good once it’s printed.

Zoom in

As a rule of thumb we suggest you enlarge your artwork by 400% on screen to check how good it will look.

Vector it

Artwork created using vector images – usually logos or line art graphics – are great because the print quality isn’t affected when the images are enlarged or reduced.

Avoid raster

However, problems tend to arise when raster images such as JPEG digital photographs are used. These images are made up of a finite number of dots or pixels and therefore the quality of the printed images varies depending on the size of the final product. This can be a particular problem if the image is line work such as a logo.

Keep it high-res

High-resolution photographic images are best, they should be at least 150 dots per inch (dpi).

Use your own images

Unless you know that graphics, logos, clipart or images from the internet are high resolution (e.g. stock shots) it’s best not to use them. They might look perfectly OK on screen but in reality they are usually very poor when printed, particularly if the image is being used for something large like a banner or wall graphic. And be careful if you are planning to use programmes like Photoshop to manipulate a web graphic – you can’t improve the resolution of the original snipped image.

Give us a PDF

High quality Portable Document Format (PDF) files are great for submitting artwork; if they are set up correctly they are very reliable. Artwork saved as print quality, press quality, high quality or 300 dpi resolution or more are the best bet and always remember to embed all graphics and fonts. There are of course many other file formats (JPEG, TIFF and EPS), its best to ensure all fonts are changed to paths or outlines in these cases.

Check, check again, double check! 

Finally, be sure to ask for an artwork proof. Check and double-check it very carefully. The proof will show exactly how your final printed items will look.

We can’t stress enough how important getting your artwork right is – without accurate artwork you risk jeopardising the quality of your printed display materials.

How do I make sure my promotional campaign goes to plan?

Retailers planning large point of sale campaigns such as Black Friday and Boxing Day Sales order thousands of printed items in one go and all of those individual items need to be very careful collated and dispatched.

Lead times are typically very short and making sure every store has exactly the range and size of point of sale materials it needs, can be a logistical challenge!

To make communication as easy as possible ask your printer for an assigned project manager, one member of the production team who will oversee everything for you. That one point of contact should conveniently check your artwork and print proofs as well as iron out any early stage glitches.

If you need to make any last minute changes whilst the project is in progress your project manager will be able to efficiently get things sorted for you. It’ll save you having to speak to, or leave messages with several different contacts.

Altering the spec of jobs in progress is very common in our line of work. It’s no big deal.

Check out your supplier’s aftercare services. Having all the latest state-of-the-art printing technology is one thing but it doesn’t do everything.

We have a big finishing department where our tenacious team take care of the intricate final touches; collating, packing, dispatching and proof of delivery reporting.

Our Proof of Delivery (POD) system assures traceability – you’ll know exactly when the job was delivered, that it arrived in top notch condition and who signed for it.

Here’s an action shot of some of our finishing crew hard at work!

How can I improve the effectiveness of my point of sale displays?

CSDPrint has been printing point of sale display materials for over 30 years and during that time we worked with some very successful retailers and wholesalers. We’ve seen how they make the most of their merchandising and marketing budgets.

Engaging promotions

Sales messages need to be up close and personalised. We are seeing a growing trend for more individual, entertaining advertising copy used for example on strut cards, posters and product display units.

Have you seen Innocent Drinks’s chirpy, motivational messages? Marmite’s nation-dividing Hard Breakfast, Soft Breakfast, No Breakfast ads or TK Maxx’s quirky Ridiculous Possibilities campaign?

Savvy retailers are also thinking carefully about how they can use the environment surrounding their products more effectively. All the latest market analysis shows that those offering engaging shopping experiences are achieving higher sales revenues.

Leading retail analyst Dr Tim Denison, of Ipsos Retail Performance sums this trend up:

“Making bricks-and-mortar retailing more experiential and turning stores into social spaces will continue to be a theme that resonates with shoppers in 2019. Store events such as fashion shows, DIY masterclasses and cookery demos take us back to the formative days of in-store DJs.

“Watches of Switzerland has recently become the first retailer in New York to open a bar within the store. IKEA has opened a small format store on Tottenham Court Road, London, complete with planning studio, cognisant that fewer young city dwellers now drive, calling for a new urban retail model. The year will see many more clever, little ways in which shopping experiences become more relevant and rewarding.

“Nobody can be sure of how the consumer economy will play out in 2019. The British shopper, however, is nothing if but resilient, and as the mists begin to clear I expect sales to recover from their ponderous start and footfall to end the year only 5.1% down on 2018.”

Flexible displays

Using display units and promotional graphics that can be moved to different locations gives you greater flexibility and added value for money.

You can set up your promotional display and see how effective it is. Having recorded the sales generated from one location you can then move the display and test another area of your store.

Free-standing display units (FSDUs) are perfect for this. You can set them up near a store entrance for one promotional campaign and then move them near the till for another.

FSDUs are generally made from cardboard, foam board or acrylic. They are perfect for printing bright, bold graphics, logos and sales messages directly onto.

Incorporating social media

Progressive clothing retailers are taking the lead in embracing social media. Those combining on-line and bricks-and-mortar shopping options are considerably strengthening their sales potential. We are seeing this in the creative thinking being used in designing new in-store promotional displays which include QR codes and shopping Apps as well as social media links.

We have also printed a lot of large format retail graphics that are being used as in-store Instagram backdrops with shoppers snapping their favourite outfits. Cut out characters and frames are also very popular at the moment for selfies with shoppers sharing photos on-line.

Impulse buys

Whether it’s the Aldi effect or just because we all love a bargain now more than ever, most retailers are getting very canny at maximising impulse buy opportunities. There is a whole host of techniques being used to create the right moment for that quick, spontaneous purchase.

Have you thought about highlighting exactly where your bargains are? We print a large range of directional signs and floor graphics that can be used to lead customers directly to your check outs and the impulse buy item displayed beside them. This signage creates a clear path for customers to follow.

Once they are there, the bright, eye-catching product displays themselves should be designed to close the sale.

Conveniently close to the till, with their snappy sales messages, your floor-standing or counter top display units should be designed to create immediate appeal and urgency with sales messages such as ‘last few remaining’, ‘special price’, ‘today’s best buy’.

Case study

Customer service is not a department, it’s an attitude.

Clients tell us that they keep coming back to us not just because we can give them great quality print in lots and lots of different formats but because we give them so much more besides.

A great example of this is the work we do for a leading drinks company who came to us for help with a range of large format point of sale items for two of their top selling brands.

We produced small and large strutted show cards, bus stop signs and pallet wraps and made sure they were all packed up securely and distributed to over 100 locations nationwide.

We checked that every batch had been received and that any issues were quickly resolved – in essence we took great care of every aspect of this huge print project from the minute the instructions arrived until it was all safely installed.

This is the feedback our client gave us:

“CSD Print are absolutely fantastic. They just have this super can do attitude. When we give them a campaign to run with we know they will take total responsibility for ensuring everything is printed to the best possible quality, that all the component marketing materials are assembled and dispatched according to the destination’s requirements. They sort everything and solve any issues without a fuss.”

“We have worked with Gail and her team for many years now and always find their commitment to getting a job done on time and to the highest standards really impressive. The two companies work together extremely well. If we need advice about any aspect of printing we know we can always turn to CSD Print.”

If you have products to promote and want a print supplier who has bags of practical point-of-sale know-how; if you want one that you can form a hard-working partnership with, then please give CSDPrint a call on 0800 8 402 403 and ask for Gail or Stephen.


Terry Clark
Author: Terry Clark