Maximizing Christmas sales

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Left: Point of sale units by EDA Australasia at Perth International Airport

The holiday season is well and truly upon us, and as brands in the travel retail space know, it’s a prime gifting period. Increased numbers of travelers passing through airports will be looking for last-minute gift ideas, as they make their way to their loved ones, so it’s an important time for brands to capitalize on increased foot traffic and convert sales.

Research by Mintel in 2013 found one in ten European travelers, and one in five British travelers, look forward to shopping at airport shops over the holiday season. In my view this is also true for Australian travelers. One way to grab the attention of traveling consumers is for brands to develop an effective point of sale (POS) unit to showcase products in the airport environment.

A POS unit acts as the permanent face of the brand to consumers and is essential to driving sales for the brand. The POS unit should convey exactly what a sales person would do for a customer in a department store and act as the ‘silent sales person’ in the absence of airport retail staff. When airport retailers allow for personalization of the POS unit, brands can use this to their advantage to create a unit that attracts customers, engages them with the product and entices them to make a purchasing decision.

Here are some tips for travel retailers to develop effective POS solutions and take advantage of the holiday season.

Gift packs

Gift packs are a popular present choice for consumers, especially around the holiday season, as they are specially designed for gifting and often contain a variety of products put together in an attractive package. According to research by Euromonitor International, gift sets also offer value for money as they provide a number of products at a discounted price and have seen a 3% increase in popularity in 2013. Although gift packs are available all year round, there is an increased focus on them around Christmas.

Airport retailers have the option to create special areas or POS units specifically for gift packs to attract customers and generate further sales. Brands can use this ‘second site’ POS unit to display certain products and gift packs to boost their sales, however they also need to compete with the other brands on the unit. This is a great way to grab the attention of consumers who are looking for a gift but are not sure what to buy.

A brand may also have the option of adding gift packs to its original POS unit or adding a ‘hot spot’ section to the unit to highlight a new product. This is a great way to capture the attention of consumers who know exactly which brand they want to purchase from, and will navigate directly to the brand’s unit to find it. One of the most effective ways to engage with all types of consumers is to implement both options, however this will depend on the airport retailer’s available space and requirements.

Attract customers who know what they want

Before entering an airport, many consumers have already decided which brand they would like to make a purchase from, and often arrive a few hours before their flight to browse through the range of products and travel exclusives.

It’s then important for POS units to have strong branding to help traveling consumers find and recognize the brand no matter where they are in the world. Strictly following the brand guidelines is an effective way to ensure consistency and convey the brand messages on the unit. Another surefire way of guaranteeing brand recognition is asking the question, “If all brand logos were taken off the POS unit, could customers still recognize which brand it is, based on the colors and design of the unit?”

Engaging customers with the unit

With an engaging POS display brands can encourage consumers to stay longer at the unit, increasing the likelihood of trialing the products and making a purchasing decision. Through extensive research into customer buying behavior, EDA Australasia has learnt that the center of a POS unit is the ideal place to show off new or popular products.

Other elements of a POS unit, such as clear product groupings and strategic lighting can highlight certain products or areas of a unit, helping to draw the consumer’s eye and encouraging them to pick it up. Product testers can also prompt consumers to explore the brand, particularly in the cosmetics space. Instructional visuals are also an important way for customers to make an informed decision, as they might be buying products as gifts and need a better understanding of how the product is used.

Understand what customers want

Understanding the buying behavior of the traveling consumer and the travel retail environment is an important part of developing an effective POS unit. Conducting research into these areas can help to inform the design of the POS unit to ensure it appeals to consumers and engages them with the brand. Research can be gathered from retailers and brands as well as international sources and research companies. For example, Euromonitor International has a variety of research reports in the travel retail space from countries all over the world, as well as industries such as beauty, electronics and eyewear.

Brands should frequently evaluate and review the effectiveness of POS strategies, especially during the holiday season, to ensure the POS unit engages with consumers and maintains sales for continued brand growth.

About the author

Rosemary Chegwyn is the head of sales and marketing at EDA Australasia, a leading point of sale and retail merchandising company. She has 30 years sales and marketing experience and with her team, is working with global brands including Coty, L’Oreal, Procter & Gamble, HPM Legrand, Moet & Hennessy, Wesfarmers and the Coles Group to create effective, integrated marketing and point of sale solutions.

December 12, 2014

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