With pressure on stores to deliver, driving in-store, in-the-moment sales is increasingly important. Mark Faithfull looks at some innovations on show.

Back in the days when pop-up didn’t mean an entire temporary shop, but simply some new in-store promotion, the role of driving sales through transient fixtures and branding was largely of the cardboard variety, linked to shifting product and driving category sales.

The reasons were – and remain – pertinent. A number of studies have shown over the years that over two-thirds of in-the-shop buying decisions are made impulsively, not in advance, which means capturing a shopper’s interest is vital to delivering a sales uplift.

While an element of in-store promotion retains the simplicity of those traditional days, the techniques have become more sophisticated. Technology often plays a part in the process, bringing the digital and real worlds together.

To stand out now, the processes appear to fall into two distinct but overlapping camps:firstly providing product information and dovetailing with other channels; secondly, demarcating a clear brand message within multi-brand environments.

“Ultimately, what we’re doing is creating dwell time,” says Daniel Corney, director of Fly Vision UK. “If you can create extra interest and engage with the consumer, then the techniques you bring to the in-store environment can help promote sales and bring the brand to life in a more interesting way for the shopper.”

James Wallingford, deputy head of experiential at BD Network, also believes that incorporating a variety of channels makes the store pertinent. “If you take our Uniqlo project, while we used social media to share the concept, what doing something physical did was make location important and drove footfall through the stores and especially to the flagship. That gives you an opportunity to engage with consumers that digital-only can’t do.”

Visual interest

A good example of marrying a technological approach to the congested fashion world was carried out by Fly Vision UK, which launched its flagship product earlier this year. Using a nifty patented technique it is keeping under wraps, merchandise appears to ‘float’ within glass cubes, with the company only proffering the fact that no strings, magnets or power sources are involved in the execution. “I never tire of witnessing the reaction on people’s faces when they first see one of our customer’s products floating before their eyes,” reflects Corney.

Applications include Calvin Klein’s latest campaign at Harrods for its new range of men’s underwear. “The window display creates brand awareness,” says Corney. “The in-store display boxes capitalise on the increased footfall by engaging further with the shopper.”

Showcasing and simplifying

‘Fuel Band’ was launched in the UK by Nike on October 31 after an earlier launch in the US and Umdasch installed nine flagship stores in one night in Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Cardiff, Bluewater, Nike Town London, Covent Garden, Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City. The digitally interactive counters and podiums are on a raised dais, creating an in-store destination and product attraction. The display shows the consumer the working capabilities of the Fuel Band through a flat interactive screen embedded in the surface of the counter units. This designated in-store area creates a defined forum for product-focused discussion, sharing information about this new product. The units were manufactured in multiple materials, with lighting, computer hardware alignment, Fuel Band synchronisation and wireless connectivity, as well as screen technology, designed and manufactured into the displays by Umdasch.

Getting a new idea across

Following the launch of Gtech’s AirRAM cordless vacuum cleaner in John Lewis stores, the company rolled out an in-store marketing programme with Debenhams and Currys. The new cordless upright vacuum cleaner uses a unique dirt collection system, different from conventional mains products. Despite being a UK company, Gtech commissioned in-store marketing specialist Arken POP International to design and manufacture a freestanding demonstration display and a stock holding unit to promote the cleaners. Featuring a similar footprint to the cleaner itself, the displays allow for boxed product placement within the units and clearly promote the selling points – shoppers are encouraged to ‘pick me up’ and test the lightweight nature of the AirRAM, with the units incorporating strong branding to help stand out.

Interaction and product explanation

Kesslers International collaborated with Microsoft to design, manufacture and install Windows 8 store furniture as it launched in the UK at  John Lewis flagship stores. The display range was intended to promote Windows 8 electronic products, adopting bold lines and clear branding to stand out against other technology brands within a department store. With the product intended to bridge the gap between personal computers and tablets – with its touch-enabled interface – Kesslers’ play tables and towers effectively showcased the new Windows 8 products to create impact in store. The simplicity of the display range design made the products accessible for the consumer and encouraged direct interaction with the brand at point-of-purchase.

Using brand ethos as a sales driver

Not all in-store sales drivers have to carry overt branding. Denim brand Wrangler opened a 1,450 sq ft pilot store on Neumarkt in Leipzig, Germany at the end of August incorporating a concept designed by Checkland Kindleysides. Amid the plentiful references to Wrangler’s history and iconography, a key feature display is the denim drawing table, which creates a focal point showcasing Wrangler’s latest outfits, fits and finishes, highlighting product but doing it in a way which is consistent with the store’s overall feel. The store has been designed to ‘capture the spirit’ of the Wrangler brand and to feel ‘impulsive and industrious’, and theproduct showcasing of the table is supported by the proximity of a denim wall to select jeans for purchase.

Promotions for location engagement

Uniqlo converted customers’ energy across a two-week promotional campaign, which ran from October 25 to November 4 in the UK. It has done this via an innovative floor surface that converted footsteps to energy at the entrance of the flagship store, and an online campaign, as part of a global Heattech giveaway. Alongside the kinetic pads that powered digital screens through the shopfloor, ‘heat spots’ at stores in Covent Garden, Soho Square, Westfield London, Westfield Stratford, and Bluewater, allowed passersby to interact with them through a custom-made game, converting their social energy to redeem a piece of Heattech. Customers were able to redeem and experience Heattech through Facebook and a mobile game. The converted energy from all the heat spots, both physically and online, as well as conversations through Facebook and Twitter, were calculated, transferred and showcased on the in-store screens.

BD Network’s Wallingford says it was a seamless way of integrating channels and driving awareness and sales. “What was really positive was that it wasn’t customers at just one store that could participate, but shoppers at the other stores, who could then come to Oxford Street to see their involvement. It was a great way of integrating the channels and we also achieved a 58% redemption of the coupons and a 150% sales uplift.”