As a growing brand in the CPG space, your team knows competition can be fierce. No matter how highly you might think of the other brands on your shelf, the fight for market share is fought tooth and nail. Shoppers will either reach for your products or your competitors', and your job depends on making sure your brand wins.
In this post, we detail 50 competition-busting tactics you can use to sell more at the point of purchase, from clever display strategies to in-store promotion tips, and more. But be warned: These tips are not a shortcut to skyrocketing sales. You can’t just scroll down this page with eyes closed and go with whatever your mouse lands on.
Data-Driven Retail Execution
What sets top brands apart from their competition is that they commit to using data to drive their decision making. Put simply, before taking any action in the field, they analyze performance data to identify opportunities and execute on the highest impact activities. This data-backed decision making isn’t just a smarter way to work, it has a real impact on a company’s bottom line. Brands can lose up to 20% of potential sales due to poor retail execution.
When deciding which display or trade promotion technique to use, there are three types of performance data you can use to determine what will be most effective:
- Observational Data -- what in-store conditions have an effect on sales performance?
- Activity Data -- what actions does your team take in the field to drive sales?
- Sales Data -- what is the volume of product you’re moving off the shelf?
With this data, you will gain valuable insights. Maybe cooler displays help you sell more individual cans of cold brew, but getting that end cap for your six-packs has a higher impact on overall sales. The only way you would know this is by analyzing the three types of data and acting on the insights the process provides you. This is what drives the success of truly high performing businesses.
So while you go through this list of ideas, don’t just choose a strategy on a gut feeling. Set yourself up for success now and in the future by becoming a data-driven organization, and then use this list as inspiration to make sure your brand's bar codes are the ones getting scanned at the register.
Find Additional Facings
It's simple. The more facings and placements your team can secure for your products, the more likely shoppers are to see, notice, and eventually pull your product off the shelf.
According to INSEAD Associate Marketing Professor Pierre Chandon, doubling the number of facings you have in a store increases the chance your brand gets noticed by nearly 30 percent. What impact can that have on sales? On average, that's about a 10 percent increase in sales - or for emerging brands, as high as 67 percent.
So how can your team get those facings? Try looking for opportunities in (or offering to implement) these kind of displays: Most of these ideas are pretty visual, so feel free to check out the Slideshare below for visual examples of all of these tactics!
Clip strips are long strips with vertical hooks that hold your products. Using clip strips gives you a chance to get your products in small spots on the shelf beyond your primary placement.
POS Bins are buckets that store your products on the floor. These are best used to encourage impulse buys near the register.
Knee Knockers are mobile display carts that are placed underneath counters. They're a great way to create more facings in high traffic areas.
Cooler Extenders are racks placed below cooler displays. If your products pair well with refrigerated items, cooler extenders open up opportunities for cross merchandising.
Design displays based on holidays and events to draw in customers and relate to their interests.
These racks go over a retailer's standard gondola and give you additional facings.
“Pretty Darn Quick” displays are cardboard boxes that are preloaded with products. They can pop up anywhere there's room, and require little to no maintenance from the retailer.
These endcaps sit at the end of a standard gondola, extending the aisle and creating new facings.
Slat Walls are a type of display set-up that uses slats instead of peg holes. While they require special hardware to set up, slat walls offer unique options for displays.
Single Product Displays
These put the viewer's entire focus on just one flagship product. Sometimes, taking away choice and just featuring one item can help inspire a purchase.
Coolers draw extra attention to your products and keep your products fresh and ready to enjoy.
Products in endcaps often sell faster than those placed in the aisle, because shoppers see them first.
Corrugated Standalone Displays
Brands can load these cardboard towers with merchandise, getting additional facings anywhere in the store.
Island Displays sit on the floor and are open on all four sides, making products accessible and visible.
Wing Displays extend from endcaps. Creating wing displays is a clear way to find space on the endcap, even if those facings have already been sold.
Also known as the "race track," the ring around the outside of the store is the largest aisle, and gets the most traffic of any location in the store.
This classic display type is for hanging products from the shelf. Pegboards are great for products that have a hard time standing up on their own on the shelf.
Try building displays around a few, bold colors. Those stand out (and make your products pop), better than busy, complex displays.
Retailer competitions or giveaways motivate retailers to give you great placements or additional facings with free products, signage, or merchandise.
Here's a visual guide to help put these ideas in context!
Help Shoppers Find Your Product
While grabbing a secondary placement is always a good win for your brand, it's not always an option. Retailers can be strict about how many facings they allot for each category, and might not budge when it comes to adding new displays to their floor. If you can't get additional facings, you can still have a significant impact on sales by making sure your brand name appears all over the store, even if your actual product doesn't.
From creative marketing tricks to time-tested merchandising hardware, here's a complete playbook for ways you can dominate mindshare in your category and drive shoppers to your product on the shelf.
Take advantage of your sales team out in the field! Arm them with branded gear they can wear in the store to spread brand recognition.
Showing your products near parking lots or entryways can put your brand at the top of shoppers' lists before they ever see your competitors.
Shopping Cart Ads
Using shopping carts to call out your product puts your brand front and center while people walk around the store.
Pairing your products with other similar items is a great way to boost sales and make it more convenient for shoppers to select your brand than your competitor.
Pole Toppers are upright fixtures that hold POS signs. These are eye-grabbing and can be seen from across a store, directing shoppers to your aisle.
These signs sit on top of your displays in the store, and can help differentiate your brand from similar items nearby on the shelf.
Price Alert Pop Ups
These cardboard sign boards announce special promotions and sales. The best part? You can place them anywhere in the store (as long as you have permission), to reach shoppers who might not already be looking for your brand on the shelf.
Branded Photo Booths
Whether it’s at the end of an aisle, at the back of the store, or at your event table, giving shoppers a fun backdrop and some props with which to take photos is a fun way to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
Sweepstakes and giveaways can generate buzz for your brand. Make it easy to sign up with a booth or collection box in stores.
Interactive Digital Displays
Take digital a step further and give shoppers a chance to interact with your brand. Ex: Quizzes, photos, and games.
Want to really outshine your competitors? Digital displays attract shoppers to your shelf. Plus, they're easy to update as products and offers change.
Not all stores will allow you to hang signs from the ceiling, but doing so can not only shout out your brand's name, but can direct shoppers to your aisle.
Putting signs in the windows can give your brand an edge by putting your name in the shoppers' mind before they even reach the shelf.
Use pop-up cards to give shoppers more info about your brand. These are especially effective during promotions and events when you have a table display set up.
Influence Purchasing in The Store
Whether by grabbing additional placements or driving shoppers to your shelf with banners and signs around the store, owning the point of purchase is crucial to converting shoppers' eyes into actual sales. Unfortunately, two of the most talked about tactics, adjusting your brand's pricing strategy or redesigning your packaging, are often outside of your control, at least in the short term.
As a sales manager, however, there are plenty of ways you can motivate shoppers to reach out and put your product in their cart at the shelf level:
If a competitor is gaining ground in your category, try boosting your products' volume at the same price.
Package two products together for convenience. This is also a great way to introduce new products in “sample sizes” to current best sellers.
Snapchat makes it easy to connect with shoppers. Simply add your Snapchat QR code to your display and shoppers can add your brand on the spot!
Celebrity endorsements can go a long way. Okay, maybe you won't be able to get Richard Sherman to give you a vote of confidence, but finding someone locally can help when entering a new store or region.
Go head to head with your competitors. Blind taste tests give your product a chance to shine and perhaps unseat your competitors' regular customers.
Sampling Events entice customers to try your products before they buy. Back up big deals by sending brand ambassadors to give away free tastes of your products.
Hang danglers to draw attention to make your products pop on the shelf. Danglers are great for educating shoppers about your benefits, or calling attention to active deals and promotions.
No matter where your customers shop, a manufacturer's coupon can give them the incentive to choose your products over a competitors.
Social Media Coupons
Use exclusive discount codes to motivate your online fans to shop in the store.
Instant Redeemable Coupons
IRCs are similar to standard sales, in that the discount is taken immediately at the register, but seeing a separate coupon on the package makes the deal feel more exclusive.
Give shoppers the chance to take away a recipe, coupon, or cooking tip by adding a tear-off pad to your display or promo booth.
These on-shelf displays take up neighboring space to feature a brand.
Shelf Talkers draw attention and add extra bits of information to your display. Use this space to call out a benefit or human aspect of your brand.
Are your ingredients better than your competitors'? Make it known! Whether it’s on your packaging, in a sampling event, or with a display, highlighting ingredients builds shopper loyalty.
Whether it’s a display somewhere else in the store or around your product on the shelf, set up lights that make your products look appealing.
Having neat displays might seem like a small task, but it goes a long way to building your brand image. Some brands have their sales reps straighten up the shelves during every visit.
Even loyal fans have no choice but to choose another brand when your spot on the shelf is empty.
Make it Happen!
Having all of these ideas is one thing, but excecuting on them can be a challenge all of its own. Think about it: Every brand would love a bit of extra space on the shelf or to have one of the few window banners visible from the parking lot. But, the reality is only a select few brands will win these spots. This is where a skillfully trained sales team can make a huge difference. To learn how Tom First worked with retailers after founding Nantucket Nectars, check out the video below! Or, read the blog post here.
Frank Brogie is the Product Marketing Manager at Repsly. When he’s not thinking about how to position and sell Repsly’s products, Frank loves to explore Boston by bike and hunt for vintage cars through a camera lens. On weekends you can count on Frank to organize a pickup basketball game or play disc golf. An avid podcast listener, Frank recommends Philosophize This, 99% Invisible, and Radiolab.