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Oldies but goodies! Shelf wobblers are more effective than ever

Commercial printing Point of Sale POS Materials


by Dimitri Van Gaever

Shopping aisles have certainly changed over the years, but wobblers managed to stand the test of time. In fact, although they first emerged about half a century ago, they are one of the most effective in-store promotion materials to this day. So what’s their secret? And how do you make sure your wobblers do all the ‘shelf talking’ needed to effectively drive sales?

It’s retail marketing magic!

Since consumers make more than half of their purchasing decisions in-store, they sometimes need a little encouragement to focus on a specific product. Although packaging design is one way to get a product to stand out on the shelves, today’s retail environment is quite crowded. Supermarkets bombard consumers with hundreds or even thousands of similar products, so sometimes it’s simply impossible to stand out through packaging design only. That’s where shelf wobblers come in. Shelf wobblers are a great example of point-of-purchase (POP) marketing, and have been known to boost sales up to 33 percent.

The best ways to use shelf wobblers

Stuck to the shelf and literally waving to grab the consumer’s attention, a wobbler gives a product an edge over its competitors on the same shelf. Also referred to as ‘shelf talkers’, wobblers give the consumer a miniature sales pitch on the spot. In order to maintain their attention-grabbing effect, wobblers are best reserved only for:

  • Advertising special offers

  • Advertising competitions

  • Pushing products that are nearing their expiration date

  • Pushing other products that need clearing from the store

Shelf wobblers have also proven to be the most effective in so-called ‘crowded’ product categories, including packaged food, beauty products, electronics, sweets and cold beverages.

5 wobbler design tips

Today’s wobblers being more effective than ever before has lots to do with the amount of research that has gone into designing them over the last few years. The best wobbler designs have been found to tick the following boxes:

1. The typeface is big
Consumers should be able to comfortably read the wobbler from a distance and when moving. Also, don’t try to cram too many words into a small space.

2. The typeface is clear
Black, red and white allow for the best contrasts.

3. The graphic design is creative, but not too creative
The wobbler’s message is the primary focal point. Graphics and fonts should serve to highlight this message, not to show off the designer’s skills.

4. The wobbler has something interesting to tell
A wobbler that simply repeats what’s on the packaging does not stand out.

5. The wobbler doesn’t hang around for ages
Remember what we said about maintaining the attention-grabbing effect? Nobody notices wobblers anymore if they’ve been hanging around for too long.

The best way to print shelf wobblers

A great design is, of course, crucial, but it will only take a wobbler so far. In order to remain interesting from a brand owner’s point of view, wobblers should also be printed in a cost-effective manner. In that respect, Xeikon webfed electrophotographic (EP) presses such as the SX20000 or SX30000 are the go-to option. These EP presses are renowed for their speedy production and able to print 21.5 meters per minute. On top of that they come with some very efficient workflow capabilities:

  • When paired with one of the smart control systems provided by the Xeikon's partner network the Xeikon presses become part of an intelligent workflow that reduces substrate waste to nearly zero.

  • Xeikon presses can be perfectly integrated with existing finishing lines or finishing modules provided by the Xeikon Partner Network, creating custom production suites that, for instance, allow for wobblers to be cut inline.

Creating brand colours with dry toner

Wobblers are one of those print jobs that usually require unique brand colours or spot colours, combined with careful colour management. To meet the needs of brand owners, the Xeikon presses are equipped with a fifth station for spot colours. Additionally, Xeikon’s dry toner – a prerequisite for efficient electrophotographic wobbler printing – is available in standard colours and off-the-shelf spot colours, but can also be made-to-order in any shade. The Xeikon toner facility is happy to create custom spot colours to any brand’s exact specifications, with a low minimum order quantity to boot.