The Digital Signage Insider

POPAI and Other Trade Groups Pursue Digital Retailing Initiatives

Published on: 2005-08-16

If one were to pick the 800 lb gorilla of retail marketing associations, it would no doubt be Point of Purchase Advertising International, or POPAI. Billed as "the only global non-profit association for marketing at retail," POPAI's primary purpose is to deliver market research, technical analysis and ongoing education to those involved in the retail marketing industry. POPAI is the originator of such sound bites as "74% of brand purchase decisions are made in-store," and "retailers buy 50% of all POP advertising produced." With a 65 year-old reputation and high-level connections to virtually every major retailer on the planet, many in the digital signage industry have been looking to POPAI for insight and research for newer forms of in-store marketing, like self-service kiosks and digital signs.

In 2003, POPAI made its first formal statements about digital signage, suggesting that the systems would be common in retail facilities by 2006. Additionally, they suggested that 70% of retailers would prefer an in-store advertising medium that could provide motion (e.g. moving images) over non-motion (static signage).

While 2005 has been a banner year for digital retailing, and 2006 looks to be even better, I think that POPAI's predictions may still be a few years off. They're taking things seriously, though, and have started to mobilize their research and education groups to ensure that they can provide the same insightful, accurate and relevant information as new technologies continue to become more prevalent in the retail marketing world. In fact, they've gone as far as to form the POPAI Digital Signage Group, stacking it with such industry heavyweights as Jeff Dowell of Clarity, Jeff Porter of Scala, and Brad Gleason of ActiveLight. Unfortunately, the group's web page doesn't have a lot of information just yet, but a quick perusal of POPAI's research library shows that they are starting to grow their research base with articles like this one from the Platt Retail Institute, or this one written by BTV+'s Lyle Bunn.

Also of interest is the POPAIdigital working group, which appears to be operating out of the UK (given that all of their membership dues are listed in pounds sterling). The site looks to be relatively new, but includes links to a couple of industry news articles, which I'm sure we'll see more of as the group matures.  And as I've noted before, the UK does appear to be a veritable hotbed of digital retailing activity, so it makes some sense to have a group based there.

Between POPAI, the Association and others, there are any number of organizations devoted to helping companies bring technology into the retail world. Which ones should you join? On the one hand, POPAI gives you access to a comprehensive database of member companies and reduced rate (or even free) access to many articles in its vast research archives. On the other hand, sends you leads gathered from its online RFP process and boasts a more digital retailing-centric member base. So, I suppose it really comes down to what you're looking for in an industry organization. And of course, if you don't mind paying dues, you could always play it safe and join them all :) But don't expect membership in an organization to automatically open doors by itself. While it can help you make contacts and gain a better perspective on how your company fits into the bigger picture, you'll need to dedicate a substantial amount of time and effort in order get the most of your association membership.

As a closing note, this article isn't meant to be an exhaustive list of trade associations in the digital retailing industry, so feel free to let us know if you know of any similar groups -- and whether you've been happy with your membership in them.

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