When Charlotte NC-based snack baker Lance wanted to improve its chances to gain floor display for its multipacks at club stores the company turned to Sonoco (Hartsville SC) for help.
Long a supplier of flexible packaging to Lance Sonoco accepted the challenge to develop a floor display versatile and attractive enough to impress managers at several of the club store chains. Scott Scardino senior account manager for display and contract packaging at Sonoco worked with Lance and employed the various services of his company’s packaging supply chain organization.
“We wanted to create a pallet load that would be ‘shoppable’ from all four sides of the pallet” he told Packaging World. “We have 10 structural designers and 12 graphic designers that use the latest software and CAD/CAM cutting tables to create new packaging.”
In the end Sonoco provided four-color process-printed multipack trays that hold 24 and 36 counts of Lance’s snack cookies and crackers. Sonoco suggested and Lance used for the first time E-flute corrugated for the multipacks that are flexo-printed.
But first using one of Sonoco’s strategic partners Lance and Sonoco agreed to produce three-dimensional digital mock-ups of the displays so Lance’s account manager could show club store buyers just how the final point-of-purchase displays would look on the selling floor. “This is a powerful way to experience a package while it’s still in the concept stage” Scardino points out.
When one of Lance’s account managers showed the digital mock-up to one club store buyer that buyer suggested a change in the color scheme from predominantly red to blue. Within a day he had an opportunity to show that buyer a revised 3D image with the colors altered to his liking and an order was created. Once the okay was given Lance and Sonoco finalized the art and the supplier managed all prepress jobs to ensure the accurate reproduction of the Lance brand and
Lance built displays
Once the packaging materials were printed and die cut they were shipped to Lance where Sonoco oversaw the packaging and display assembly. However Scardino adds that in many cases Sonoco is responsible for the display creation as well. “Many consumer products companies don’t realize they can outsource any or all of their packaging supply chain. When Lance learned we could supply not only the printed and unprinted film and cartons but also the design and pack patterns they were very pleased.”
“Promotions are the lifeblood of our industry but also a tremendous challenge to execute quickly and with minimum effort” says Kim Grindstaff a packaging purchasing agent for Lance. “We will continue to combine our resources with Sonoco to provide the best products and services to our customers retailers and everyone who loves our snacks.”
Scardino points out that this project involved far more than just graphics and design. “We’d never show a customer a 3D concept unless the packs and display were ‘manufacturable’ they’re appropriate for that outlet and they’re something that can be safely stacked and shipped” he says. “No art goes to our customers unless it’s approved by the structural engineers. They do a lot of testing first.”
Along with the packaging services Sonoco uses its “market intelligence” in creating the display design. “It’s our responsibility to know which stores sell off the 40-inch side which merchandise from the 48-inch side which ones accept pallet skirts and which accept headers for display. So we have to understand both the retailer and the manufacturer’s target market whether it’s children or adults or seniors” Scardino says.
“Club stores are very autonomous and managers are responsible for what goes on the floor and what goes into racks or shelves” he continues. “When a manufacturer comes in with product in unprinted kraft boxes or trays more than likely that pallet will be partially unloaded onto what we call ‘the steel’ and restocked from the back room.
“On the other hand when a company like Lance delivers a display that’s truly sales-floor ready we know that company stands a much better chance of getting an end-cap or even a center-aisle position. Without this advantage a company would probably have to pay extra for a premium position in the store.”
Lance purchasing agent Grindstaff tells PW that “these displays have been very successful and continue to propel growth in this product line."