Manufacturers who invest in point-of-purchase advertising designed to drive sales in-store are wasting time and money unless they build a relationship with store managers.

New research indicates retail buyers are completely uninterested in POP, believing it contributes only 10% to sales. But store managers think it helps deliver 46% to normal category sales and 56% to promotional sales.

Meanwhile, sales managers at manufacturers - who fund such material - believe it contributes 32% to category sales, says the research from Storecheck Marketing in conjunction with POPAI.

Yet three out of four proposals related to POP put forward by suppliers fail, with buyers accepting only 27% of such proposals.

"Buyers make it clear that POP has one of the lowest priorities in terms of factors that could contribute to an improvement in category marketing," said Storecheck MD Colin Harper.

"So perhaps it's not surprising that so many food retailers are actively removing such material."

Research company Shopper Insights interviewed buyers and manufacturers from both large and small companies while Storecheck polled 70 managers from the big four supermarket groups, selected from within the top 700 UK stores. These stores represent over half of UK ­grocery sales. The managers were, on average, respon­sible for 14 categories.

Store managers also saw POP as giving information to customers, with staff therefore questioned less, freeing bosses up to manage the supply chain issues they are measured on.

The managers added that too much of their time was taken up by sales reps or field marketers. Some 17% of their time is used to deal with people from outside but in only 10% of cases does talk lead to action.

Key to success, says Harper, is a profit-based argument. "If you can tell the store manager how much money he is losing without POP, 80% of the time this leads to action."