Tobacco sales benefit in retail from intelligent product presentation

In business, who does not know the term „efficient consumer response“? It means: Only those who understand their customers and base all of their actions on their needs can sell them anything. That, of course, goes without saying, and applies for every Point of Sale. The question as to what interests the consumer on the shop floor, and what their needs are, is extensively researched through receipt surveys, household panels, customer surveys and various other initiatives. All of these measures together are known in specialist jargon as “Shopper Analytics”. But is that enough? Does the tailored positioning of the products actually lead to a higher turnover?

In such issues, the capabilities of POS TUNING in Bad Salzuflen, North Rhine Westphalia, are called upon. When frozen pizzas, sweets, cosmetics, and tobacco products are in optimal places to be seen and reached on a shelf in a shop, then a pushfeed system by POS TUNING is most likely involved. The simple and clear motto of the company is "If your product is in front, we are behind it!" With this claim, internationally successful and award-winning creations by POS TUNING have established themselves as new standards in product presentation in shops. Since the company was founded in 1998, the company has developed clever solutions under the world-renowned seal of Made in Germany, which offer benefits to the retailer, as well as to the consumer at the Point of Sale. POS TUNING has been a global player with customers across five continents for a long time.

Like a tuned car achieves a much higher performance when compared to a simple vehicle, the manufacturers in Bad Salzuflen are determined to optimise and perfect product presentation at the Point of Sale. Derived from the English “to tune” meaning “tuning” or “harmonising”, individual changes are identified in order to improve the characteristics of objects. The term “tuning” should therefore be taken to mean “fine-tuning”. Once the experts at POS TUNING have internalised the problems of their consumers following in-depth discussions, they seek the solution, the fine-tuning, which wheels need to be set in motion by POS, so that the consumer can have their desired product.

It is particularly relevant for products of the tobacco industry since the end of May last year, when EU TBD2 came into effect. This time, the government has followed the requirements from Brussels almost to the letter. This means that no exceptions will be made, but there are also no strict regulations like in France or Great Britain, for example. In practice, this means that more than half of the packs will show shocking images and warning signs. The name of a brand picked by a smoker can always be not be taken advantage of, on the other hand, the restriction means that, through the positioning of the tobacco products within sight and reach of the tills in food shops or behind the counter in convenience stores, non-smokers and children will also encounter these shocking images. For business, this is naturally a big problem. After all, who wants a pleasant shopping trip to end with the sight of smokers’ lungs or skin conditions?

Product Cards provide assistance with orientation
According to data from the German Federation of Tobacco Retailers, the sale of food plays a large role in the sale of cigarettes. Over one third of cigarettes sold in Germany are sold in food shops. POS TUNING has thought of a better orientation for smoke-lovers in this uncomfortable mix. This is Product Cards. They are compatible with POS-T pushfeeds, which are almost standard in the presentation of tobacco products. The patented solution can be easily constructed. The Product Cards exist in different sizes for cigarettes, pouches and tins of all major brands. With the cards, shoppers and checkout assistants receive the correct orientation information, in order to find the desired product. In addition, the cards protect children, above all, from the sight of the horrifying images. Thereby, the business can keep positioning tobacco products near the till. The Product Cards can also be placed in self-checkouts. In this respect, POS TUNING has developed an Adapter-T rail into which the Product Cards can be placed. The strips fit all major suppliers. The Product Cards can be ordered by the retailer for free from the dedicated website, namely www.productcard.eu. The holders must be ordered from POS TUNING as usual.

For specialist shops and for convenience stores, the presentation specialists in Bad Salzuflen have developed two further solutions. To enable an optimal filling and unimpeded access to the products, as well as offering maximum orientation to consumers and retailers, the packs can also be placed horizontally on the goods carriers. Shoppers and retailers can then see the front of the product, which still shows the brand logo. The specially designed POS-T Slow Motion pushfeed pushes the next lot of goods to the front of the good carrier, after the bottom pack has been removed. A specific dampening element in the pushfeed is used by the innovative company to ensure that no packs fall from the shelf whilst being fed through the system. As a third solution, POS TUNING offers the market a special LED light display. Through a curved front panel, light is only cast over the bottom part of the packet, and therefore illuminates that part of the packet that is important for the consumer, namely recognition of their brand of choice.

Efficient solutions for theft at the till
If there is one point in the shop by which the consumer must necessarily pass, it is the till. Friendly men and women scan the products from the basket with great speed, often quicker than the customer can pack away. And then comes payment, up to one cent coins, almost a stressful situation. That is it however - if there are no appointments arranged - almost a moment of relaxation, standing in the little queue for the till. This is the time for temptation for the customer. They see chocolate, chewing gum, little bottles of Schnapps, batteries, and all sorts. The type of products that lead to impulse-buying. Therefore, the till area is an inestimable source of turnover for the business. However, as the products are often lying around, they also invite theft. Self-service in business is essential nowadays, however this term can be taken all too literally by customers, but also by deliverers and staff, and leads to large negative figures annually in the financial reports. The tobacco industry is especially affected, as the products have become relatively expensive over the years due to ever-increasing taxes. For reduction in theft, especially concerning the Other Tobacco Products, the OTP products, supplied in packets, boxes, tins and large packs, POS TUNING has the perfect solution. That is - as known in the company – an anti-theft shelving. The various tobacco creations are placed behind a hatch, which the consumer must open in order to access the product. Once the flap is opened, an acoustic or optical signal is triggered. Thereby, customers in the queue and checkout assistants are made aware that a product has been removed. The customer therefore now has no chance to hide the goods, if they were intending to steal. In the variation of the OTP Safe, which naturally complies with the most recent EU Tobacco directive, the hatches at the front are made of a frosted material. The products hidden behind it appear blurry. In this respect, the consumers can best orientate themselves and find the tobacco product of their choice straightaway: due to the characteristics of the material used in POS TUNING's Product Cards. The brand is therefore clearly visible. The POS-T theft prevention therefore ensures genuine competitive advantages compared to unprotected items. No intervention is required in the production and packaging processes, the acquisition is a single investment and does not entail any running costs, and above all, ensures higher turnover due to continually open presentation of goods. But the biggest result remains to be stated: the rates of theft - say users of the item - are decreasing by 90 percent.

A business run out of a basement becomes a global player
How did POS TUNING succeed in developing a business run out a basement in 1998 into its current position as a global player in concepts of the presentation of goods at the Point of Sale? The starting point was the idea and the persistence of the company's founder, Udo Voßhenrich. Whilst visiting shops, he noticed how laborious it was for staff to ensure product replenishment, when products were not readily accessible. Therefore, the retailer had to turn around and somehow retrieve the desired product from the shelf. It was long-winded, took time, and tried the patience of the customer. In order to solve this organisational inadequacy, which no one had recognised as a problem yet, Udo Voßhenrich invented his as yet current and over time increasingly sophisticated pushfeed system. One pack comes out, the next shifts forward. Simple, convenient, there is nothing better. But at the time, Udo Voßhenrich had to go from door to door, as the saying goes. For one tank a day, he travelled through Germany to present his idea, including concept designs. No one was interested. Until finally, he resonated with the pharmacy chain DM. The company was very interested and ordered many thousand pushfeed systems for their products. From then on, things improved. Now, the company is established and is based on a site of over 10,000 square metres. Udo Voßhenrich was already 54 years old when he turned his idea of his own company producing pushfeed systems into a reality. Now he is over 70 and has passed the baton of POS TUNING to his son Oliver and long-term comrade Christoph Moser. The company has offered solutions to highly individual problems for a long time. The basic systems by POS TUNING can be used in innumerable variants, for unusual packaging and products. And they are in line with the latest trends.

At Euroshop 2017 in Dusseldorf, POS TUNING shone with a new exhibition appearance. Under the motto Automise-Digitalise-Focus, the company fully captured the interest of the specialist audience from trade, consumer goods industry and shop fitting. The POS-T anti-theft solutions were well-received. Along with the previously presented theft-reducing goods carriers with flaps that can be closed remotely, the company presented the till holder for impulse-buys. First installations in business have demonstrated that dishonest customers can be quickly identified with this technology and are put off stealing. The new anti-theft machines fascinated the specialist audience because the result is astounding: POS TUNING places goods at risk of theft in a machine, which can of course be used by the buyer through the Posh-App. The key is that the consumer - as is increasingly the case in online shops - has to pay for the product before the machine releases the product. Thereby, theft can be reduced by up to 100 percent, and the customer still has the advantage of self-service.

A very innovative company, POS TUNING, which has developed from small beginnings into a global player within two decades, which delivers to customers in all major countries. Even regarding the most recent EU tobacco directive, the company has succeeded in reacting quickly with clever solutions, as the presentation in shops of the countless products from this plant, which has been known and popular for centuries, is not subject to political decisions from Brussels. There is therefore a lot of possible scope in this area. Whosoever now believes that this EU tobacco regulation is the biggest political intervention in the history of smoking, is mistaken: Murad IV, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1623 to 1640 made smoking an offence punishable by death.

TALK - Interview with Christoph Moser

fng: Who in your company develops all the clever solutions for the Point of Sale?
Christoph Moser: All POS TUNING staff members are not only people who want to improve the presentation of goods at the Point of Sale, but also people who go shopping every day. Many ideas, suggestions and improvements come into play from this. We also have our own development and product management department. There, we are constantly working on new innovations to make products more visible, accessible and available for shoppers.
fng: Can you offer a retailer solutions for perfect product presentation catered to their specific shop?
Christoph Moser: All solutions are always made to suit the current individual situation of a shop. In this respect, the type of shelving in particular must be taken into account - a different fastening is needed for a wire shelf than for a metal or glass shelf. Furthermore, the width of shelves often varies. The presentation solution itself always depends on the category and is built such that it can simply be constructed on site and can be fitted to various planning programmes.
fng: In terms of tobacco products in business, are there presentation possibilities to move the shocking images on the packs a little towards the background?
Christoph Moser: Since 20 May 2016, many tobacco products are displayed with warning signs and shocking images. This is a packaging directive, and the presentation is left to the discretion of each supplier. In order to push the shocking images further towards the background with the presentation, there are various solutions. Firstly, there is the possibility of placing so-called Product Cards in front of the products. These are also particularly good for help with orientation, in order to find the respective brands and various formats quickly. There is also the possibility to place the brand message at the front with special LED lighting. The shocking image appears in the shadow, without being hidden. Furthermore, there are special pushfeed systems, which enable products to be presented stacked. Through the horizontal presentation, only the top or bottom of the pack showing the brand is visible.
fng: How do contacts between your company and suppliers come about?
Christoph Moser: POS TUNING is very closely linked to suppliers. As well as our own sales team, which ensures a regular contact with suppliers, we are often represented in various task forces. Here, we often meet both suppliers and industry, to discuss the potential of an optimised presentation of goods. As a general rule, test installations are carried out to verify the effectiveness of the optimisations. We are also of course reaching our retail customers through conferences, events, specialist journals, and social media.
fng: What rolls exactly do shelving systems play in the successful presentation of a brand?
Christoph Moser: In retail, shelving systems are the basis for the presentation of goods. The various suppliers have agreed on the consistent breadth of shelves. In addition, the shelving systems are often highly specific. Some systems allow a very narrow adjustability in the height of the shelves, others can be tilted. The characteristic of the shelves – metal, glass, wire or wooden shelves – complies with the particular deal. In a drinks hall for example, no glass shelves would be found, and in a pharmacy, there would be no metal heavy-duty shelf. In general, we are observing an increasing trend towards wire shelves. To present a brand successfully, it does not matter which shelves or which shelving system are involved. A successful presentation of a brand can be demonstrated, in that the brand is clearly visible and within reach of shoppers. Often, disruptive elements ensure that a brand will be more recognisable to a shopper than another. In addition, the brand must naturally also be available. This issue, also known as OSA, is gaining significance, in order to keep the shoppers’ loyalty and custom.
fng: How did you succeed in developing a small company into a market leader?
Christoph Moser: From the beginning, so since 1998, POS TUNING has always focused on the optimisation of the presentation of goods. We have questioned the established practices and always given new ideas a chance, even if they did not appear viable at first. We have concentrated on specific ranges and developed solutions which were easy to implement. These have now been multiplied internationally by our global customers. In over 120 countries by now. We see solutions, where others do not see the problem. Our potential is our colleagues, and we are well-positioned in this respect, from shop fitting to IT..
fng: Mr Moser, thank you for taking the time to speak to us.

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