Insight: UK grocery retail shifts focus to every day low pricing strategy

A new industry report has been launched by independent shopper research agency, Shoppercentric. Carried out amongst 88 food and drink brand owners and design agencies involved in the commissioning or design of Point of Sale (POS) – provided by the IPM – and 10 pre-recruited shopper-agents, the research findings cast a light on POS influences on today’s shopper and looks at key success factors and future trends.

“With UK retail in a period of rapid change all manner of traditional retailing approaches are being called in to question,” said Danielle Pinnington, managing director at Shoppercentric. “The impact of e-commerce continues to play out, whilst m-commerce has yet to truly change the dynamics of retailing, as it surely will. On top of this the Discounters have triggered a huge shift in mainstream retail thinking, and shoppers themselves are driving considerable change as they switch from structured shopping routines to flex their shopping around their busy lives.

This is the context in which POS now has to operate and although it can seem such an easy tool to grab from the shopper marketing toolkit, the fact is that retail environments have become so awash with these types of materials it can be hard to even see the products on the shelf. Times have changed and so have shopper needs so we thought it appropriate to take a closer look at this area.”


Findings revealed:


  • Mainstream retailers are moving to everyday low pricing strategies:
    • 54 percent of UK shoppers prefer EDLP to Hi-Lo tactics
    • 55 percent of the survey respondents say they use POS most often to highlight a promotion, and a move away from Hi-Lo will surely restrict this particular use of POS
  • In their efforts to meet the online challenge, retailers are taking more control of their environments:
    • 55 percent of respondents using POS say difficulties persuading retailers to adopt branded POS is restricting spending
    • Compliance and changes in promotional strategy by retailers are also increasing pressure (both cited by 27 percent of respondents)
  • POS struggles to provide clear ROI evidence to protect spending when budgets are being squeezed:
    • 48 percent of brand owners expect spending on POS to decrease in the next 12 months. Agencies also expect to spend 29 percent less over the same period
    • 33 percent of respondents say lack of proven / measured ROI is restricting spending on POS
  • Clarity and logistics are key dilemmas when planning POS:
    • Cost versus budget was cited as an issue for 47 percent of respondents
    • Agreeing a simple message challenged 41 percent
    • change Lack of information about the shopper behaviour needing to change caused 36 percent an issue
    • 30 percent found a lack of clarity on the desired impact on shopper behaviour a cause for concern
  • Constructing a successful POS campaign:
    • 82 percent of respondents said a simple message was key to success. Next in line is that the POS campaign stands out (69 percent). Matching shopper needs came in third place with 67 percent.
  • Interactive displays and m-commerce are expected to have the most impact on campaign effectiveness
    • 61 percent of respondents felt interactive displays were the most impactful new technology
    • In second place with 55 percent were mobile / one touch payments
    • Interestingly virtual reality and augmented reality made the list with 17 and 10 percent respectively. Holograms were expected to make an impact by just seven percent of respondents.


Pinnington concludes: “POS can play a key role in shopper marketing, but the campaigns must have obvious boundaries (what does the message apply to/where on shelf/which products), be transparent – no exceptions, catches, strings attached and be focussed and relevant to the shoppers. The tone is also critical as it shows that you know your audience and their needs.

Clearly times are difficult and shoppers are looking for better instore experiences from the retail environments they choose to visit. POS needs to adapt and target new shopper requirements by stretching into areas not commonly utilised before and targeting specific needs of the shopper or the environment. The challenges cited by respondents must be addressed if POS is going to continue to be a positive instore factor beyond promotional activity.”

Share:Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook