merchandizingWhether you call it point-of-purchase (POP) or point-of-sale (POS), interpretive signage that distinguishes your brand is a must. Especially in consumer goods, these signs are the final chance you have to sell your brand’s products.

Some are located on the shelf (known as shelf-talkers), or on your product (in the wine industry they are called neck-talkers), or on the shipper (known as case-backers, case-riders, or back-cards). Some big-box stores and supermarkets allow large display pieces at the end of the aisles (know as end-aislers). Wherever they are, these signs deliver compelling arguments to make the purchase.


What do all these point-of-sale pieces have in common?

They are all strategically located where the customer, the product, the money, and the decision all come together. No matter how much advertising your customer sees before they get to the venue where your product is sold, they are more influenced by what they see right next to your product. It’s the last word. Couple that with the notion buyer and you begin to realize how important POS is to the actual sale.

But how do you get it there, and how do you keep it in place? Here are 7 elements for merchandizing with successful point-of-sale material.

1. Permission

Most venues have strict rules about point-of-sale materials. Get the facts before your marketing people start to design. Due to limited shelf space, size is critical. If it’s too big, it will not be used.

2. Location

Large POS in heavily trafficked areas are the most effective. But generally you need a price reduction program resulting in stacks of your product to get these prime locations. Carefully design of your POS for the specific location.

3. Font

Due to the requirement that the POS piece be read 4-6 feet away, larger and easy-to-read fonts must be used. The message must be succinct, compelling, and decisive.

4. Installation

For the most part, people on your payroll will have to actually put your POS up. The competition may remove them so your people have to visit the retailer on a regular basis to assure they are still up.

5. Attrition

We found that over half of the expensive POS we provided our distributors was put in the garbage. So get ready to produce more than you will ever see up on the sales floor.

6. Message

Include the essential elements: distinguishing factors, benefits of use, eye-catching graphics, description of product, third-party endorsements, seasonal appropriateness, and compelling reasons to buy. With all that said – the shorter, the better!

7. Timeliness

Current news about your product, recent improvements, awards, or accolades are more compelling than older ones. The sooner your product features the most recent news, the better.

The best point-of-sale material is the label and the package, because they are the only pieces that you can guarantee will always get to the shelf. We put a big foot on our label and a gold medal sticker right on the bottle.

We had to design a different foot logo for different uses. For an end-aisler piece, we used the watercolor footprint found on the label. For the shipper, we used a cartoon-like foot with less detail, and for the floor stickers that walked our customers up to our products, we used a left and right oversized version. With all that, the little shelf-talkers with effective and current information made the biggest difference in our sales.




Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) & Shelf Smarts courses to help consumer product brand builders achieve success. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular business site at

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