Reusable Reaches Retail Marketing
The megatrends of sustainability and digitization are now also becoming apparent in retail marketing as well. Classic displays are replaced with reusable systems. And the boundaries between shelf advertising and digital signage are blurring.
POS Tuning and Eco Retail should know that they may be making themselves unpopular with the packaging industry. The store outfitters have set their sights on converting traditional retail display stands to reusable systems, as could be seen at the "Euroshop 2023". So far, single-use systems have dominated. POS Tuning's “POS T. Rex” reusable merchandise carriers are “a disruptive innovation,” according to deputy marketing manager Maren Brettmeier. The dark gray plastic containers, open at the front, with a base area of 60 by 40 centimeters and a height of 17.5 to 27.5 centimeters, are designed to be filled at the industry's plants and delivered to retailers ready to be set up.
When they are empty, they are returned for refilling. An automated pallet truck, which the company also showed, can move empty cases to the warehouse at night and full ones to the store. The task of secondary placement is handled by an “advertising garage” – a fixed location in the store with a screen that automatically reads the code of the returnable crates and plays the corresponding product videos.
Display stands as pooling systems
The basic idea behind the POS T. Rex is a pooling system similar to that for pallets. “Retailers and industry have been showing for years that this works,” says Brettmeier. With Eco Retail and IPP, POS Tuning has found its first partners for pooling.
Eco Retail has introduced “RUDi,” the "Reusable Display.”" These are essentially collapsible reusable pedestals for displays, mounted on a pallet or dolly (rolling cart). Industrial or retail trays can be placed on these bases, either as shelving or with hanging or self-supporting merchandise. This means that only filled trays need to be brought into the stores, rather than complete displays, says Managing Director Hajo Geugelin. The system has already been tested in 400 stores and is offered by pooling specialist IPP. As a next step, he plans to integrate POS Tuning's returnable merchandise carriers. “Then there will only be 70 grams of consumables, namely for the advertising poster on the outside,” he says.
Sister companies VKF Renzel and Tronitag are also working to ensure that advertising materials made of paper and cardboard no longer extend product packaging into the store, as movable mini-posters (wobblers) do, for example. The digital wobbler by Renzel and Tronitag bears the somewhat sober name “LCD screen, double-sided” and consists of tablets mounted on a pole above merchandise displays. These double-sided screens can show product videos and combine them with information about the price, so they also function as an electronic shelf label (ESL).
Motion Display from Sweden is moving in the same direction. The company's displays are made of e-paper and can display animated captions, from the latest advertising slogan to notices that products are caffeine- or alcohol-free or short demos. The displays, whose batteries are expected to last up to a year, are designed to fit next to the price tag on the shelf – and they demonstrate that the transition to digital billboards (digital signage) is blurring.
What do these developments mean for the packaging industry? A figure cited by Eco Retail may serve as a point of reference: there are 30 million disposable displays in German, Austrian and Swiss retail every year. The company wants to drastically reduce this number, provided that the systems with their pooling ideas become established. That would definitely be an attack on established partnerships in retail marketing.