As many a brand will tell you, one reason why they continue to run Free Standing Insert (FSI) promotions is that they give them leverage to gain merchandising support from retailers. The brand schedules FSI drop dates and, in return, the retailer responds by providing merchandising display support (i.e., shelf tags, end-cap displays, etc.) to align with the anticipated uptick in foot traffic spurred by the FSI drop. But times have changed – maybe because the impact of the FSI has shrunk – and FSIs are no longer necessary to win display support. In fact, digital promotions are often more effective at gaining retailer merchandising and meeting brands’ other objectives. We’ve seen exactly that at Quotient.

Take, for example, a leading brand in the household product category that stopped the FSI in favor of digital. Contrary to what some in the industry believe, this brand gained display and distribution with retailers and increased sales at the expense of the competition.

As the chart below shows, this brand saw a lift in in all three key measures – a 21% jump in display, a 10% jump in distribution, and, most importantly, a 3% lift in sales. Its largest competitor, meantime, saw a 10-19 percentage point drop in display and distribution and remained steady in sales compared to the previous year.Forget-the-FSI-blog-v3
Based on the above, retailers support digital executions just like they support those in the FSI. Key takeaways brands should remember when going pure digital:

  • More merchandising opportunities – Unlike the FSI, retailers can get behind offers throughout the month since there isn’t a specific “drop day.”
  • Multi-retailer support – Digital programs are designed to be live longer than FSIs, allowing multiple retailers to support a campaign (e.g., one retailer per week for the length of the campaign).
  • Multiple merchandising touch points – Make sure to partner with those solution providers that work with retailers to support your brands in-store, as well as via all other touch points: mobile, social, retailer emails, etc.

Whether running a digital or FSI campaign, remember that retailers typically require about 12 weeks to support an event. With strategic annual planning, your brand can reap the benefits of robust retailer merchandising to drive sales and foot traffic with your retail partners.