P-O-P designs that satisfy Wal-Mart

At the P-O-P (Point-of-Purchase) Show in Chicago September 22, Bob Connolly, executive vice president of marketing and consumer communications at Wal-Mart Stores Inc., shared insights that can help both manufacturers and suppliers get an “in” at the nation’s No. 1 retailer.

Ready, set, go!

Time is the new currency. Both Wal-Mart and its shoppers want packaging that saves them time. For Wal-Mart, that means tactics such as time-saving secondary packaging. One example: PDQ trays, which sales associates can set up quickly, with minimal mess or discarded portions. For consumers, it means packaging communication that lets them understand your brand message and select a product within six seconds.

Shop like a consumer at Wal-Mart

Buy a week’s worth of supplies for your own home. Observe how other shoppers shop and how sales associates set up displays. You’ll learn a lot about what works and what fails. Brand managers can then collaborate with competitors to elevate their category as a whole, a Wal-Mart preference.

Bring a friend

Have a partner tag along whose interests are opposite of yours. If you enjoy wine and spirits, you might learn a lot about these categories from the detached observations of someone who doesn’t drink.

Check our calendar

Rather than your relying purely on ingenuity, Wal-Mart’s interest increases when you respond to the natural order of things. A key tip for brand managers: If you want to get your product featured, pay attention to the three most important days of the month for Wal-Mart--the 1st and the 15th, which are pay days, and the 3rd, when retirees gain access to their monthly Social Security checks.

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