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Shelf Talkers 101: A Powerful Retail Tool

July 20, 2022
Alex Rosenberg


If you've ever been to a retail store and seen products paired with promotional signage, you've seen shelf talkers in action. Many brick-and-mortar retailers use these inexpensive marketing tools to promote certain products throughout their stores. It’s common to see shelf talkers in grocery stores, but you can use them with success in any kind of retail store — and not just by way of static signage. By incorporating Flowcode QR codes in your retail shelf talkers, you can use technology to your advantage and make your marketing work even harder without spending a lot of money.

What are shelf talkers?

Retail shelf talkers are sign holders that hang from the edge of a shelf and offer information about the product or products inside a display area. Their main purpose is to grab shoppers’ attention as they browse the aisles — and ultimately stop, pick up a product, and buy it.

How effective are shelf talkers?

Very effective! On crowded shelves with dozens of products, customers are making decisions quickly, so it’s important to differentiate from the pack. Shelf talkers are an extension of your product and can educate customers in a flash.

Customers are walking out with more merchandise than they planned on purchasing: an April 2020 poll showed that U.S. shoppers were spending upwards of $183 on impulse buys monthly. Considering these numbers, your next best move is to incorporate shelf talkers into your retail marketing strategy.

Shelf talker: scan for coupon

Why use QR Codes on shelf talkers?

Savvy retailers are taking their marketing a step beyond static shelf talkers by adding QR codes to their signage. QR codes effectively bridge the gap between physical stores and online shopping by transforming traditional shelf talkers into interactive tools. Users are able to scan the QR code to access a variety of information related to a product, from landing pages and how-to videos to social media profiles and limited-time offers.

What size is a shelf talker?

The most common sizes for shelf talkers are 6" x 3" and 8" x 3". However, there are many different sizes and styles available that will work with virtually any type of retail shelving unit. These shelf talkers attach to shelves either via a shelf-edge data strip, aka a scanning rail or ticket rail, or by hooking onto a lip on the front of shelves. You can even stick them onto shelf edges with adhesive tape as needed or turn them into larger displays such as end caps

10 Innovative shelf talker ideas to try:

1. 3D Designs

A shelf talker like this implies it’s popping out from store shelves. This type of design catches the attention of passersby, especially if your product is located on crowded store shelves. By adding QR code to your shelf talker, you can send customers to a link with additional information, such as nutritional facts, recipes, or product usage tips.

2. Social responsibility projects

Does your company participate in social responsibility initiatives? Use your shelf talker to provide information about any charities or social justice projects that receive a portion of sales.

With a Flowcode incorporated on your signage, you can direct customers to an email sign-up page or a landing page that encourages them to get involved and stay connected with your brand for ongoing updates on your charitable efforts.

3. Staff picks

Do you run a bookstore? A wine shop? A beauty supply store? Create a display with staff members’ favorite products, and add shelf talkers featuring each team member’s words about why they love the product. Be sure to add a QR code to extend the reach of your shelf talker; for example, if one of your team members has a summer reading list, add a Flowcode that takes customers to their selection.

4. Product creators

Use your shelf talkers to tell the story behind your products — for instance, the farmer who supplies your store’s organically grown strawberries. Include a picture of the person along with a short bio, and incorporate a Flowcode that links directly to a short video.

Customers can hear directly from the producer about their production methods, materials, and additional information that can build trust with consumers.

5. Video shelf talkers

Shelf talkers do not have to be static signs; video shelf talkers are an increasingly popular way to create interactive experiences for shoppers. Use your video shelf talker to educate customers about the different ways to use your products, supply short how-to tutorials, or feature customer testimonials. End your video with a QR code that shoppers can scan to get more information, download digital coupons, or sign up for your emails to receive future discounts.

6. Sweepstakes

It’s easy enough to promote a sweepstakes event through retail shelf talkers. This is also a perfect opportunity to add your Flowcode to the shelf talker and create a multi-channel campaign that connects your offline audience to online experiences. Use your Flowcode to encourage more sign-ups for your sweepstakes, collect email addresses, and explain contest rules. And because Flowcode features dynamic technology, you can easily update it anytime you have a new campaign without having to create a new QR code.

sweepstakes

7. Coupons

Adding a tear-off coupon is a great way to engage bargain hunters looking for a deal. Don’t worry about running out of coupons — simply place a QR code on your shelf talker that takes shoppers directly to digital coupons and other information about your brand.

8. Dump bins

If you have a bunch of small items like candy bars or hair accessories that you want to merchandise together, place them in a “dump bin” with a shelf talker that calls them to customers’ attention. You can place these free-standing bins anywhere in the store, from the cash wrap to center aisles, and use your shelf talker to quickly call out a sale price, for example. In this way, your dump bin becomes one big shelf talker that catches customers’ eyes.

product body with QR

9. Endcap displays

End caps are another great place to incorporate shelf talkers that tell a story and capture shoppers’ attention. Use endcaps to feature several related products in conjunction with a holiday or a season.

10. Short and sweet signage

If you have a limited budget or space, you can always keep your retail shelf talkers simple. Simple instructions about how to enjoy your product is a quick way to build trust and connect with a customer. A Flowcode, which is small and unobtrusive, can drive scanners to additional information about recipes, ideas, and brand materials!

Ready to add shelf talkers into your marketing?

Shelf talkers are a proven, cost-effective way to engage with your in-store audience. And now, with the advent of QR codes, you can push this everyday marketing opportunity even further. By printing a QR code on your shelf talker, you can provide an interactive experience and greatly increase the amount of product information you’re able to provide within the short period of time that customers are in-store.

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