Friday, October 23, 2020

What next for the POP industry?

By Retail4Growth Team | September 03, 2019

Point of Purchase reached out to various industry players and procurement agencies to understand the issues, challenges and the factors that can drive the industry to the next level.

POP industryInnovation, sustainability, future readiness, R&D, cost optimization – words that that have a nice ring to them, words that are touted as the things that will drive the way forward for the POP industry. And yet when it comes to the everyday reality of business functioning, these are mere words, more in the realm of an ideal world and bear little resemblance to the challenges that beset the industry or the vicious cycle of issues that runs between the industry players and their clients.

Point-of-Purchase reached out to various industry players and procurement agencies to understand the issues, challenges and the factors that can drive the industry to the next level. Many of these things have been in discussion for many years now and it is inevitable that a sense of déjà vu overtakes us, every time this discussion comes into play. Still, it helps to do some introspection and ask some tough questions. These questions may not throw up immediate answers, but they can still reign in some clarity.

1. Without business ethics, can the industry move forward?

The answer is obvious. In fact, the answer to most of the questions that follow are obvious. But that does not mean that the answers are being followed, right? Sometimes repeating the crucial question can reiterate some obvious but often forgotten things – like the fact that while under cutting, compromise on quality and copying ideas help in the short term, they have an adverse long-term impact on everyone involved – including the ones indulging in these practices. Any industry player sincerely doing his business and trying to grow in a competitive environment today has a tough decision to make - join the trend and cut prices or keep a low profile. There are exceptions of course who have managed to grow while staying true to best practices. But they are not the norm.

2. Are procurement agencies killing the industry?

Most industry players would of course say ‘yes’ to this question, admitting that their margins were getting squeezed with the intervention of vendors. Meanwhile the procurement agencies themselves say that they only try and look for the best possible means, caught as they are in the challenge of balancing tight brand budgets/ timelines and finding a professional vendor. For them, the requirement essentially is for vendors with the capability for large scale deployment in short turnaround times.

But the fact is that ethics apply not just to the industry, but to the whole eco-system, including the procurement agencies and brands. Valuing a vendor partner’s efforts towards ideas and design and paying a price for it is not asking for too much. If procurement agencies are expected to bridge the gaps between the vendors and their clients, maybe they can first start with understanding the genuine vendor challenges and convey them to their own clients, so that ultimately it leads to better value proposition for all.

3. Can a collective industry body help?

Again, the answer is obvious. And yet it has not happened. At the risk of sounding repetitive, a body that represents the collective interests of all can benefit all concerned in the long run. But the idea competes with greed and the need for short term gains. So, is there any chance at all of the idea winning?

Read the complete story in August 2019 POP Producer Special Edition of Point-of-Purchase. Also do share your views and thoughts with us. Let us set a discussion rolling. Mail your views to

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