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How to stand out at the shelf in 2023

We often choose an already tried and tested solution out of a desire for predictability of results. But what do you do when your competitors are doing the same thing: a classic action with promoters? To continue means accepting the situation that will be harder and harder to connect with buyers.

2023 looks set to be the year in which in-store can regain its importance in the communication mix, after the last few years have been marked by the desire to streamline the time spent in stores. Yet things will never be the same: online shopping is still on the rise, consumers are adapting their shopping lists in response to the economic crisis we are going through, and phigital is becoming a reality.

What’s to be done, then? Turn to other tactics, unique or emerging in the market, that create context for brand interaction and an emotional connection to the brand. We’ve put together a list of 4 ways you can create engagement with shoppers without resorting to promoters.


Brands that position themselves as innovative in their market segment, as well as those that have a technology component to their positioning tend to integrate robots of all kinds that walk around the store. They can deliver brand messages, have shelf-space included and can even be the activation point on the tablet.

  • Pros: wow factor, can be updated during the campaign, can be used to collect feedback, on the tablet.
  • Cons: lacks human factor, needs to be replenished with products, can be considered a gimmick.


Sampling Machines

Placed at the entrance to large retail centres, the machines operate automatically on an app-based basis. Consumers enter an unique code generated on their phone and receive a free sample in return. Suppliers in Romania also offer dedicated branding to attract shoppers’ attention. The digital component makes this type of sampling appealing to Romanian consumers, coming with an element of novelty.

  • Pros: you can expand a sampling campaign while reducing logistical friction.
  • Cons: you can’t choose a particular placement, you have to bend to their distribution.

Prize vault

It works on the basis of digitally issued codes. When they are entered, the consumer finds out whether they have won or not very simply: the door either opens or it doesn’t. The big plus of this type of instant prize offering is the element of predictability: safes are pre-programmed to offer a certain number of prizes in a certain period of time. At the same time, it provides branding space that creates visibility much longer than an activation point with promoters.

  • Pros: gamifies the in-store award process, prizes are visible to everyone, not just winners.
  • Cons: you still have to interact with a landing page where you enter the voucher.


It is the shoppers’ marketing gadget that you start to see more and more often in Romanian retail. Activated both at set times and on the basis of motion sensors, it delivers the campaign message in a way that grabs the attention of anyone who walks past your product.

Maggi’s South American division made a really creative use of Tokinomo’s functionality: they created a pot that started to sing as you walked past it.

  • Pros: attracts attention at the shelf and creates entertainment at key points of sale, super-adaptable to communication needs.
  • Cons: can be considered strange by some consumers, especially when not used correctly.

Shoppertainment can be done in other ways, not just with a promoter!

2023 promises to be an exciting year for in-store communication, but that’s if brands are brave and dare to step out of their comfort zone. In-store has long ceased to be all about one-off and tactical efforts, now the entertainment component of the buying process is important. This is all the more important for brands with strong competition, who need to differentiate themselves on-shelf in a space that is increasingly hard to get from retailers.