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According to a recent UK survey commissioned by Epson, 100% of the retailers interviewed said that they need to adapt and broaden their market focus to drive growth. As a result - and despite current economic pressures - over half of UK retailers are optimistic that their budgets for in-store point of sale (POS) advertising will increase substantially by 2020.

The Epson 20|20 Vision Survey interviewed 500 retail brand and marketing managers across the five largest European economies – the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain – to evaluate the retail industry’s use of in-store print and electronic POS signage today, and how it will change up to the year 2020.

The survey reveals that advances in POS technology and techniques, increasing competition and the drive for growth by diversifying into new specialist, mass or regional markets will result in more frequent print/electronic POS campaigns and, as a result, generate increased POS volumes overall. As a result, retailers predict that in-store POS campaigns will become much more dynamic and targeted in their design. While most retailers say that print will remain a vital component of in-store POS in the future, electronic POS will have a significant and growing presence. Today over half of all in-store POS activity is print-based, but this is predicted to fall to just over a third (39%) by 2020 when electronic POS will comprise the largest proportion of POS activity (61%).

In the future, the choice of using print and/or electronic POS will be linked much more closely to the product value and to the age and gender of the target customer.  Retailers link the choice of POS media to the value of the product being promoted with print POS preferred to convey brand quality and dynamic electronic POS preferred for special promotions that change every couple of days. While print POS is the most popular medium used to promote high-end goods today (used by 85% of companies polled), retailers predict that they will adopt a more integrated media approach by 2020 – using print and electronic media almost equally. Electronic POS will remain the most popular media (75%) used to promote fast moving, short life-cycle commodity items by 2020.

The Epson survey shows that reducing POS production costs and waste and improving campaign targeting and time to market are priorities for most retailers over the next few years.  POS materials not being produced or supplied on time and failure to target the right demographic are the main reasons for missing in-store POS objectives. Consequently, 81% of UK retailers say that ‘design centrally/print locally’  is the single most important print production model to support their drive to achieve more frequent, time-sensitive and localised campaigns by 2020.

“The research findings are interesting and certainly echo the trends we are already experiencing in the sector,” says James Henry, Head of Retail, Intermarketing Agency. “As a retail marketing agency our focus has always been on providing the best possible POS solutions based on our clients’ needs, brands and budgets and having a view on return on investment.  We’ve already started to see significant growth in digital POS. This is enabling us to deliver highly targeted and tactical campaigns that we can tailor based on targets, sales and seasonality. Face recognition, proximity sensors, footfall tracking and many other advances make digital POS increasingly well targeted and effective. Plus with its fast turnaround and low cost, it allows us to deploy campaigns quickly and cost effectively. Our in-store campaigns are always supported by printed POS that enhances the experience and provides an ‘always on’ brand message regardless of the digital element. POS can help enhance the retail experience and drive an emotional brand connection, whilst also delivering a more rational product offer message, which is key at that zero moment of truth – the point where a purchase decision is made.”

“As campaigns become more frequent, more dynamic, more localised and more targeted to specific consumer demographics, both print and electronic POS media will play important roles in retailers’ sales strategies,” says Nick White, Business Manager, Professional Graphics, Epson. “Over the next few years there are significant opportunities for innovative POS production companies to meet the retailer’s needs for cost-effective, fast-turnaround, localised, quality print campaigns and fast-refresh, dynamic electronic campaigns.”