The POP pivot

Zita Watkin

(Caption: Nutella – Make It Yourself – Pop-up – Myer)

Let me set the scene. 2020 was the year we prepared to celebrate 10 years of shop! (formerly POPAI) Global Retail Marketing Awards in Chicago, IL, USA.

With the shop! ANZ Marketing, Event and Membership Manager Zita Watkin.

The awards should take place in June at the GlobalShop Expo. By the end of March, Covid-19 had changed our world and the global awards ceremony with a wonderful presentation of POP displays had been converted into an online event.

My annual trip to the US to see the best retail marketing activity has been interrupted. I had to pan!

Knowing how much transformation there has been in retail over the past 10 years, I set out to create a research piece to understand our path so far and how we can use this to create amazing retail shopping experiences in the future to accomplish.

The following trends and insights are a snapshot of my findings.

Ten years of innovation in retail

There have been major technology-based innovations over the past 10 years that have changed the way we shop.

To set the scene, Apple introduced iPads in 2010, and cell phones became a shopping tool.

Almost overnight we had more options and opportunities to buy what we want.

These alternatives to shopping haven't killed the physical stores. But on the contrary! Online shopping increased the use of physical retail marketing. And omnichannel marketing is more important than ever today.

However, some of the biggest changes aren't due to technology, but rather to the fact that we're looking for more personal and human connections and experiences.

Here are a few examples that are driving retail display innovation.

  1. "Phygital" – phones and physical

Sportsgirl Window Shop

One of the biggest changes of the last decade has been the merger of traditional brick and mortar shopping with mobile phones.

In 2011, Sportsgirl's flagship store on Chapel Street in Melbourne temporarily closed its doors while major renovations were in progress. Sportsgirl saw the opportunity to do something really groundbreaking and innovative while maintaining sales.

Sportsgirl started the "Window Shop", with which customers could buy products without entering the shop.

At the time, mobile selling was a relatively new service for the 50-year-old retailer. The execution of the “Window Shop” was crucial in promoting awareness and customer education for the brands of mobile and tablet shopping. It also helped raise awareness and train customers on QR functions. Solidifying Sportsgirl's place as the leading mobile fashion retailer in Australia.

  1. Reinvent the category

Category management has been fundamentally revised by taking consumer behavior into account and making shopping a far more engaging and collaborative brand experience.

CCA Mixxit @ Home Cocktail Display

This new strategy means shopping aisles become “micro-targets” in the store, creating a one-stop shopping experience that drives growth for the entire category, regardless of the brand that may gain the upper hand when activated.

The "Mixxit @ Home Cocktail Display" launched in 2012 is a good example of this.

Since the late 1990s, much of the innovation in the retail liquor sector has been product-based premix solutions. With the popularity of shows like Masterchef in 2011-12, home preparation of gourmet meals and interest in mixing cocktails saw a surge.

Coca-Cola Amatil developed a retail solution that used an interactive touchscreen display to deliver cocktail recipes made easy with a full suite of ingredients.

Mixxit @ Home has become a central shopping experience and a brand new “Cocktail Couture” category for bottle store aisles.

  1. Iconic displays

They know you're looking for a good cause when a display is created that iconically reflects the brand and is repeated year after year.

Chupa Chups advert

Two examples that come to mind are the legendary oversized 7-Eleven "Slurpee Cup Dump Bin" and the Chupa Chups totem.

Both displays share some award-winning similarities. Represent the brand exceptionally well and have 360-degree shopability.

This means that the displays can be used anywhere and are easily visible anywhere in the store.

Versatility and making the brand a hero are two important ingredients in exposing the brand and product to buyer traffic – turning buyers into buyers!

  1. Personalization, partnerships, pop-up brands, and online are getting physical!

Without a doubt, “product personalization” is one of the biggest trends that exploded and grew in retail in 2015.

One of the most memorable examples of personalization was Nutella's "Make It Yours" campaign. The success of this campaign goes well beyond personalization, however, using partnerships and physical shopping space to truly drive engagement.

Super Slurpee Cup garbage can

The personalization product wasn't new. Nutella maker Ferrero had previously developed a product personalization service that was available through social media platforms. However, activation through pop-ups this Christmas was key to its commercial success.

Myer saw the potential of offering the Nutella "Make it your" personalization service as part of its Giftorium Christmas campaign. It was also a unique opportunity to work with Ferrero.

Myers goal was to bring the traffic of exciting customers to the stores with theater and customization.

Personalized Nutella jars were the best-selling gift in Australia for Christmas 2015.

Unsurprisingly, Nutella was Myers' top-selling item for Christmas this year.

  1. Storytelling with interactive experiences

Wine is an amazing category when it comes to creating marketing opportunities.

It is different from other categories. Yes, buyers choose wine based on brand and price like other categories, but the other major driver for buyers is "packaging." In other words, many people choose a wine based on its label!

19 Crime – Get Your Mug Shot – TWE

For wine, possibly more than any other category, there is a great opportunity for a brand change in the store, with packaging, presentation and experience.

Who can forget Treasury Wine Estates' “19 Crimes” campaign in 2017? The global AR app “Living Wine Labels” brought wine labels to life with “historical stories straight from the notorious”.

19 Crimes quickly became the fastest-selling $ 10 wine NPD ever introduced in First Choice Liquor.

The story of 19 crimes continues. A follow-up activation was created in 2018-19. "Get your mug shot and join the 19 Crimes Gang". Personalized wine labels were printed on site after "mug shots" were taken of shoppers in a recreated rustic prison cell photo booth display. A fun and engaging way for buyers to engage with the brand.

19 crimes have achieved phenomenal success both locally and in the United States. Today it's a benchmark for the success of his ingenious use of brands, personalization, and disruptive displays to attract customers.


19 Crime reports

These examples of POP displays from our recent history show that brands are increasingly changing and retail displays with human interaction and product experience are paramount.

When we look back, we can look at them differently and reflect on that thought.

"How can we use the retail display to give customers a better shopping experience?"

One thing is clear. We need to use digital and shopper themes to deliver highly personalized customer experiences of all sizes.

10 POP display trends over the past 10 years

  1. Iconic stands
  2. Phones and physical
  3. Interactive experiences
  4. make it personal
  5. Tell stories
  6. Sensory experiences
  7. Create moments
  8. Perfect partner
  9. Reinvent the category
  10. Online goes physically

About Zita Watkin

Zita Watkin has 20 years of design and marketing experience working with Australia's leading creative and manufacturing companies. Support of well-known retailers and brand customers.

Zita travels to GlobalShop and Euroshop internationally to keep up with the latest trends and case studies in retail marketing and see the results with Shop! ANZ members.

Today Zita works with a shop! Creating content for members and curating marketing and events. She also runs her own consultancy, Zita Creative Marketing, and works on strategic marketing for B2B private clients.

About shop! ANZ

Formerly known as POPAI, Shop! is the only global, not-for-profit industry association dedicated solely to excellence in shopper marketing and retail experience. With 20 branches in 45 countries and over 1700 member companies worldwide, Shop! brings global best practice information, resources, recognition and networks to our members. For more information, please visit or email

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