Magazines Archives - 2006 March

Stores hold shoppers captive with creative solutions
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Retailers and top brands in Singapore are increasingly applying point-of-purchase and signage solutions to make a powerful impact on shoppers. Angeline Yeo checks out some of the latest means they have employed alongside traditional media to creative effect on the Singapore scene.

Holding the audience captive and drawing customers into their stores are, needless to say, all in a day’s work for retailers, with their creativity detemining how successful they are at the task. Helping them along is a wider choice of innovative media available today.

Technological advances are making it easier for retailers worldwide to employ digital point-of-purchase (POP) and signage solutions, providing them with moving media and fascinating displays to draw attention, while printed POP and traditional signages have not lost their appeal, remaining the preferred medium for many retailers.

The Nokia-created paradigm
In Singapore, retailers and their advertising agencies have become, in recent years, more and more creative in their bid to etch a brand into consumers’ minds.

Evidence of this can be seen in Singapore’s busy Orchard Road underpass linking Shaw House, Wisma Atria and Ngee Ann City shopping centres. The familiar sight of scrolling media, with their whirring noises, that flank both sides of the tunnel can now be juxtaposed with refreshing signs and images; designs creatively wrapped around — some protruding from — the walls, floors and even stairs of the underpass to create a seamless, continuous advertisement, often including directions to the nearest retail outlet.

Nokia, said to be the world’s number one mobile-phone manufacturer, has done just that. Promoting its latest L’Amour Collection phones, the creative team at Nokia did not just make use of the scrolling media, but also wrapped the remaining wall space of the underpass with its advertisement, placed makeshift benches and even Romanesque pillars, complete with faux fire, to create a distinct an enveloping romantic paradigm for all who pass through.

The scrolling media continue to serve as innovative signage for stores, displaying information on their sales promotions and latest product offerings. The high traffic in the underpass nearly every hour of the day renders any spending on signage there worthwhile.

The digital draw of Dior

Upmarket French brand Christian Dior’s in-store signage has its own magnetic draw. Marrying haute couture and technology, Dior has installed in its flagship store in Ngee Ann City a slim floorto- ceiling LED screen projecting larger than- life models on the runway.

“This is Dior’s first in Asia outside Japan. The eye-catching digital signage (DS) really brings in the traffic,” says May Choong, general manager of Christian Dior, Singapore.

Since its installation last year, foot-fall to the outlet has more than doubled, says Choong. The screen projecting Dior apparel modelled on the runway draws the interest of both men and women, the former attracted to the technology driving the screen.

The ‘moving’ media in the store is clearly visible from outside, thus strategically serving two functions — drawing customers into the store and lending a sense of vibrancy to a shop full of static merchandise.

“ The runway show not only [injects] the outlet with a sense of high fashion and refinement, but also brings out the energy in Dior,” says Choong.

Another DS used by Dior was the video wall on the side of Shaw Centre, part of the Shaw & Shaw Organisation.

The Shaw video wall, the largest LED screen in Orchard Road, is similar to that at Times Square in New York, USA. It is managed by Shaw Media Services, an in-house media development and production hub of the Shaw cineplexcum- mall. Dior had used the video wall to publicise the re-opening of its refurbished Shaw Centre outlet. The result was a high-energy, high-impact hype for the opening on 3 September 2005.

“The video wall provides great visibility [to] the extremely heavy traffic along the road crossings. It was also cost-efficient, and fitted nicely with Dior’s advertising budget.

“What we had was a lot of energy for the period leading up to the store opening — a really loud bang,” says Choong. While satisfied with the digital signages Dior has been using thus far, she still thinks retailers in Singapore have some way to go before they catch up with those in South Korea and Hong Kong, where the scene is “really vibrant”. “Dior’s creative team there comes up with brilliant ideas, but which they cannot apply in Singapore,” Choong laments.

She reckons this is due to the stricter regulations of mall owners here, who are very concerned with safety and security in their establishments. For example, the wrapping of scaffolding outside a mall undergoing renovation is common in Hong Kong but virtually unthinkable in Singapore due to safety hazards, she explains.

Million calls for attention
While DSs are increasingly popular among retailers, the power of good oldfashioned signs and POP solutions printed on paper cannot be underestimated.

Hong Kong-based POP specialists Million believes that printed POP displays remain the crux of any retail store looking to catch the eye of its customer. Indeed, for most outlets in Singapore, including health-and-beauty retailers Watsons and Guardian Pharmacy, NTUC FairPrice supermarkets and French hypermarket Carrefour, paper displays on their floors, in their wire racks and as hanging mobiles continue to call out to customers.

In Hong Kong and mainland China, Million, which provides creative direction and produces POP displays, prides itself on working side by side with clients to develop just the right formula to meet complex marketing challenges. The company maintains that it constantly monitors the market to keep abreast of current trends to ensure outstanding and unique POP designs for its clients. Million, which took part in the Hong Kong International Stationery Fair in January this year, counts among its clients international brands such as chocolate confectioner Ferrero Rocher and health-care provider GNC.

“We sell a service,” said Million account executive Alina Cheung at the Hong Kong fair. She was referring to the company’s ability to provide total solutions for its customers, from design to printing and assembly.

In a saturated market where the consumer is spoiled for choice, printed POP solutions — including wire racks and display stands — have become an important part of the fast-movingconsumer- goods (FMCG) market.

According ACNielsen Singapore managing director Ashok Charan, manufacturers in the FMCG market in Asia are facing increasing competition from private labels. This is because the consumers who purchase these items at their local hypermarkets are not particularly brand loyal, and hence easily swayed by prices, packaging or promotions to go for another brand, he explains. This means FMCG manufacturers need to strive harder for customer attention.

Judging from expert opinions, POP solutions such as dumpbins and wobblers (POP displays that move) can go far in changing consumers’ perception of a brand and increasing the brand equity — the more elaborate, the higher propensity for consumers to find the product more classy, modern and reliable. More importantly, these POP strategies may do much to boost “purchase triggers” for the brand, leading the customer to choose one product over a similar one on the shelf, says Charan.


2006 March Stories:

The rebranding of Robinson

Stores hold shoppers captive with creative solutions

FHA2006 – The Show Worth Waiting For

China’s malls and stores make the pitch with digital solutions

CPD Düsseldorf – fashion industry’s international communication platform

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