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POS: "Many things have to be self-explanatory at present"

21 May 2020

Crisis Management for POS Design

Many will spend their holidays at home this year. Therefore, the themes balcony, terrace and garden are very important. – Photo: Syngenta Flowers

The Corona crisis is currently presenting the stationary retail trade with huge challenges. POS design as a whole plays a subordinate role compared to this theme this year. We spoke with an expert about this.

Oliver Mathys develops sales concepts for garden centres and DIY stores and supports them with the implementation thereof. In close collaboration with Koelnmesse, he has also for several years been designing the POS Green Solution Islands for spoga+gafa. The islands show the visitors examples of how they can design campaign and sales areas in retail outlets, which highlight specific themes.

Mr Mathys, garden centres and DIY stores are occupied with implementing the demanded hygiene measures and distance rules this year, do they even have any time or space for a well thought-out POS design?

Mathys: Principally, one can say that the sales area always has to be designed someway or other. It is simply not possible to forego designing the displays. However, you are right that the aims and focuses of the POS design change in times like these. Overall, less significance is perhaps attributed to inspirational areas. Due to lacking space, these may have to be left out or completely or reduced in size, so that the customers can keep enough distance from each other in the aisles of the stores.

In the current situation most of the customers don't really feel like browsing around the DIY shops and garden centres to gain ideas or inspiration. A more functional, transparent design is thus called for, which enables people to carry out their purchases fast and in a targeted manner without having to search for too long. Furthermore, because many employees are busy taking care of the hygiene and distance rules, less time often remains for consultations. So, the goods should be presented in such a way that everything is as self-explanatory as possible. Should larger inspirational displays be necessary for the purpose, these should to a great extent be separate from the sales level. For instance it can be helpful if a product is unpacked and available on display ready assembled next to the other boxes. The individual packages should additionally be stacked - even to a greater extent than usual - so that the customer can reach them himself so that nothing stands in the way of the self-service principle.

Since deliberating while choosing and combining products almost inevitably leads to gatherings of people and crowds, it can be practical to offer ready compiled sets for certain items. How about boxes that already contain five or six different selected plants for a sunny or shady balcony for example? Customers could thus find a trusted selection in one fell swoop.

POS: Inspiration displays should currently be largely detached from the sales level. – Photo:

POS: Inspiration displays should currently be largely detached from the sales level. – Photo:

Even if the inspirational spaces are now perhaps smaller, there are nevertheless still certain themes and trends that the garden centres and DIY stores should focus on this year with regards to their product offer and POS design. Which ones are these?

Mathys: At the moment travel warnings still apply for certain countries and for many people going on holiday is also simply too uncertain under the current circumstances, so a lot of people will spend their days off at home this summer. So, the themes balconies, terraces and gardens will be very popular, because the consumers will want to make things really cosy at home. Hence, some Euros that would have otherwise been spent on a holiday will probably be invested in one's own green haven.

People have been showing increased interest in the themes self-sufficiency and vegetable gardens again for several years. I assume that these sections will boom even more this year. Because people simply have much more time on their hands to grow fruit and vegetables, they can experiment at leisure, perhaps even create their first raised flower bed and have fun watching the plants grow and subsequently harvesting them.

Since we are reckoning on a hot and dry summer over the coming months, the themes shade systems and irrigation will probably play an important role again. In times of Corona, lots of people have discovered working around the house as a pastime, so I assume that some of them will now also have a stab at installing an irrigation system for the garden or balcony themselves.

Oliver Mathys – Photo:

Oliver Mathys – Photo:

The informative events, workshops and other campaigns that garden centres and DIY stores have frequently offered their customers over the past years, won't be on the agenda this year. To what extent do you believe it is possible for the trade to maintain the contact with their customers via online offers?

Mathys: The online presence is currently more important for the trade than ever before. Of course one can also present workshops here: Films or webinars that for example show how a raised flower bed can be built and correctly planted are popular with the customers. However, the production thereof is extremely time-consuming. Should one nevertheless opt to do this, one should definitely always offer the corresponding product sets that contain everything so that the buyers can immediately put what they have seen into practice. A nice idea that I discovered recently on the website of a DIY store: The customers were able to put together the plants for their balcony flower boxes using a configurator, place an order and then collect them at the market ready packed. Companies can also think about the possibility of individual online consulting. Such a service doesn't have to be free of charge. If the customer makes a corresponding purchase at a later date, one could perhaps offset the money charged for the service. I am convinced that over the coming weeks and months many other creative ideas will be developed that will also enrich our everyday routines long-term.

A more functional, clear POS design is currently in demand that enables people to complete their purchases quickly and in a targeted manner. – Photo:

A more functional, clear POS design is currently in demand that enables people to complete their purchases quickly and in a targeted manner. – Photo:

In my opinion, however, even more important than workshops and co. is for the trade to expand the inspiration level further online and to present the entire product range in a comprehensive and attractive way. People have more time on their hands at the moment to browse the web than otherwise and are visiting the stores personally less frequently. One should bear this in mind in one's own web presence and online offer and pick up on it accordingly. One possibility would be for example to enable the customers to pick up the products that they have found online during their next visit to the store on-site in a quick and uncomplicated process. It would also be helpful if it is stated online where precisely the product can be found in the store. Another alternative – and this is of course even simpler and faster – is the offer of delivering the goods directly from the DIY store or garden centre or having them sent as a package. Especially when I look ahead slightly, these purchasing possibilities will no doubt be an important aspect for the Christmas business, because the classic, big Advent exhibitions won't be able to take place in the stores this year. The decorative items can however be attractively presented online and can as a rule be readily dispatched by post.

Further information:

Author: Roland Moers