Problem: Introducing your product to a market without breaking the bank.
Sure, you have the ability to start a small business from your dorm room and it’s likely you’re already working on a product/service and gaining a few customers but then comes the challenge of reaching a broader market.
The Web is an obvious option you’re going to explore but let’s not forget the importance of having a physical presentation to capture the local marketplace.
A solution to our problem can be found with the use of point-of-purchase displays.
What are POP Displays?
You’ve already seen point-of-purchase (POP) displays but may not have known the terminology and available options. These are those custom displays you’ll often find next to a register, on an end cap of an aisle, or scattered around the aisles at big box retailers.
They are called point-of-purchase displays because they try to encourage an additional sale by having a close proximity to the check out.
For example, it’s easy to find:
- Counter displays (e.g. gum, batteries, or energy shots)
- Floor displays (e.g. makeup, new movie releases, or boxed products)
- Retail signage (e.g. new video game releases, sales, or sales events)
- Brochure displays (e.g. catalogs, coupon books, or user guides)
The selection of a pop display are only limited to your imagination and budget. Companies create generic or custom displays for their clients to improve customer engagement and (hopefully) increase sales by making the products readily accessible during checkout.
Using POP Displays in a Dorm Room Biz
By now you should have already begun to generate a few ideas on how you could use these pop displays within a business you’re starting out of your dorm room.
Those willing to give this basic form of product placement and marketing a try could consider the following actions:
1. Find and begin working with a designer to create a marketing image that will be displayed upon the pop display. Use testing and feedback from a small group of your peers to determine which of the mocks gain the greatest reception.
2. Source a manufacturer and supplier of point-of-purchase displays, work with the company, and order a handful of display units which can be used at various retail (and non-retail) locations depending on your connections with the owners.
3. Work with the designer, again, to create sleek packaging for your products and source a company to produce these items on a limited scale (to avoid over spending and so that you may test its reception).
4. Approach various locations and pitch the owners on displaying your products. Emphasize the ease of adding the POP display and explain that you will provide regular maintenance and stocking of the display. At this time create a deal with the owner that incentivizes their decision to include the display such as a small cut from the sales.
5. Recruit fellow peers as a marketing & sales team to begin reaching outside of your limited network. Provide them with marketing materials and education on pitching the products and displays. Encourage them to seek a wider audience by expanding the local coverage. Consider paying for their efforts based on their installation based.
These set of steps should give you a starting point though be sure to use the Web and educate yourself on the process of reaching retail shelves.
To do a quick recap:
They allow you to easily introduce products to a retail (or non-retail) environment because they’re all-in-one and easily setup.
They are inexpensive in terms of create and customization due to standardized features.
They give your products (or marketing material) a professional appearance which increases engagement and interaction.
You’ll face an uphill battle when it comes to getting in stores and various locations but when you’re armed with POP displays and a great product it becomes a no brainer for owners to begin listing your items especially when it’s all-included and gets the customers buzzing.