When it comes to the details of a successful retail display campaign, there’s no such thing as an insignificant problem.
Seemingly small issues have a way of compounding themselves, and retailers like Costco, Walmart, Home Depot, and others have high standards for granting access to their floors and shelves. It takes more than a good product. You’ve got to be able to manage a campaign without any missed deadlines, damaged products, or other avoidable mishaps.
Everything counts, and problems don’t stay small for long when you’re navigating a multi-continent supply chain and the unforgiving specifications of these big box retailers. Here are a few examples of problems that can snowball if you aren’t on top of them, along with some advice for how to stay out of their path.
Keeping Up Appearances
Your packaging is the first indicator of the quality of your product. If there is copy missing, errors in the artwork, misprints in labeling, omissions of legal information, or product information that’s out of place, don’t be fooled into thinking these are small issues just because they are actually small. All of these things can lead to rejection by the retailer.
At best, you’re inviting delay, and delays can leave your shipments quarantined, and vulnerable to damage from handling, transportation or weather. You may have to undergo retesting to ensure that the product is an exact match to the retailer’s expectations. And missed deadlines take a toll on your reputation, which means a tiny little printing error now has repercussions that can follow you into your next campaign. That’s the snowball effect.
Costs also have a way of snowballing if you have to produce replacement goods or packaging in the US, or have them re-made overseas and shipped back. Best practices for snowball avoidance include a rigorous system of internal approval of all graphics and copy. Every detail matters, and while mistakes can happen, it’s important to catch them early. What costs $1 to fix at the source is likely to cost $10 in the U.S.
Road Test for Success
Your product or display may look good, but can it withstand the rigors of transportation? Any shortcuts to the process of load and pack testing can lead to disaster. It only takes a tiny bit of movement or jostling to damage the product or the display. It can be tempting to rush this, or skip testing when deadlines are looming, especially if the product packaging and display is a design that has been used before. But what may seem like a small deviation, like a slightly different weight of paper used for the top sheet, can be enough to create a gap or a bit of added pressure. When fully-packed displays are traveling thousands of miles over land and sea, a tiny shift can lead to big damage. And when product shows up damaged, you’ll be facing a whole lot more than a missed deadline. Snowballs are expensive.
As a best practice, we have found it is critical to stand up to any pressures to be a little less diligent in testing or validating test results. Just because something worked before, doesn’t mean it will work again.
Close Enough is Not Good Enough
When it comes to product packaging and display specs, there’s no such thing as “close enough.” Fractions of difference in product weight or dimensions have a way of multiplying. A client who decided to use a slightly heavier material in product packaging for added strength unintentionally added a fraction of an inch in size. Multiplied by the number of products on the display shelf and the fraction was enough to knock a whole row of product out of alignment and create a bulge in the lip of the trays. Rigorous adherence to specs may seem like overkill, but we’ve got 50 years of experience in this industry and we can tell you with absolute certainty: there is no such thing as “close enough.”
Weather or Not
While we’re urging you to steer clear of the snowballs, we should mention that it’s never a good idea to turn your back on any kind of weather. Sometimes the success of your campaign can come down to being vigilant about weather patterns on the other side of the world.
If you plan to transport goods during the summer typhoon season in Asia, you run a higher risk of moisture damage. High humidity can lead to mold, especially if your product has to spend any extra time in storage as the result of one of the other problems we’ve described. It’s not as big a leap from a misprinted label to a pile of moldy product as it may seem.
An Experienced Partner for Retail Success
At TPH Global, we have five decades of experience managing successful CPG campaigns for warehouse clubs, big box stores, grocery stores, and other stores of every variety, from pitch support through supply chain management and fulfillment. Our clients rely on us for meticulously managed campaigns that build credibility for their brands with both retailers and customers.
We get results for our clients because we don’t leave anything to chance. With experience, attention to detail and troubleshooting processes honed over the course of hundreds of campaigns, problems don’t have a snowball’s chance in Miami of getting between our clients and their goals.
To learn more about what we can do for your next campaign, call us or click on the link below.