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Using Point‑of‑Purchase (POP) Marketing to Boost Sales

Learn all about point‑of‑purchase (POP) marketing, including POP marketing benefits, strategies, examples, and tips.

You’ve put a lot of thought into your marketing plan. You may be a master of social media or you may have purchased advertising to reach your target audience...perhaps even have a celebrity endorsement or two! But once customers come to your store or website, you still have an opportunity to increase sales and help them find just the right product through point-of-purchase (POP) marketing.

What is point-of-purchase marketing?

Point-of-purchase marketing is an advertising strategy targeting consumers in a retail setting when they’re primed to make a purchase. POP marketing options can include displays, signage, discount offers, and other elements designed to capture the attention of customers.

A point-of-purchase strategy aims to prompt last-minute add-on products. Using POP marketing, businesses—both physical and online—can boost sales, introduce consumers to new brands and products, and provide a value-added shopping experience.

POP for retail stores

Retail stores have many options for leveraging POP marketing to increase sales. The hard work of getting shoppers into the store has already been done; they've self-identified as consumers with an interest in your products and now you have a valuable opportunity to grab a shopper's attention.

Whether you use freestanding displays, product demonstrations, or an in-store shopping loyalty program, the chance to prompt a purchasing decision when the customer is already there gives you a competitive advantage.

POP for brands

On the other hand, if you sell your product in a variety of retail stores, POP marketing can work for you as well. You'll want to work with store management to have your brand messaging delivered as effectively as possible within the store's overall marketing plan.

You can encourage stores to feature your specific brand in POP displays by providing them with marketing materials like counter display units, aisle shelf displays, or dump bins. You can also offer to partner with retail outlets by using your own marketing channels to attract customers to the store.

Point-of-purchase vs. point-of-sale (POS)

POP marketing is related to point-of-sale (POS), although point-of-purchase refers to where buying decisions are made—often in the product display area or near the checkout area—while POS is where the actual sales transaction takes place. This is often the checkout counter or the checkout page of an e-commerce shop.

The marketing methods deployed can change according to location. Certain types of marketing are more common at the point of purchase, such as signs near product displays, while others are more effective when the sale is being completed, like putting small and inexpensive items near the checkout counter.

Benefits of POP marketing

Both brands and retail shops have so many options for reaching customers that it can be hard to know where to purchase advertising and how to focus your limited marketing budget and resources. But you can realize the most benefits when your marketing efforts aim at customers who are already interested in your products.

Low cost

POP marketing can be a cost-effective option, especially for small businesses. Many POP options like in-store displays, shelf tags, and displays at the checkout require minimal investment. In fact, product manufacturers often pay for some or all of the cost of these displays. In addition, since customers are already in the store, there's no need to pay for advertising placement. POP marketing takes advantage of the existing foot traffic in stores to maximize cost efficiency.

Extra product visibility

Highlighting specific products in your POP marketing via in-store signage, checkout displays, or featured placement on your website offers you a chance to promote those products to shoppers when they're in the middle of the decision-making process. It's a valuable opportunity to make sure your products are front and center and to grab consumer attention. It can also help remind shoppers about products they need to buy or new items they want to try out.

Increase in impulse purchases

The moment when a customer completes the actual sales transaction is a great time to take advantage of the buyer's decision-making mindset. Placing items in the checkout line or near the cash register encourages customers to grab products on impulse, adding them to their cart or placing them on the counter.

The personal care and beauty brand Sephora knows this. The area near their checkout counters is lined with displays of travel and trial-size items. It's easy for customers to purchase products on impulse. Many other stores do the same thing with items like candy bars or gum. Their small size and low price make for an easy purchase—maybe even one that will be enjoyed on the way out of the store.

Further customer education

POP advertising can be used to let customers know about new products or educate them about product features and benefits. This information is more memorable when it's delivered close to the products themselves, while offering the chance to purchase these products on the spot. In-store interaction options like product demonstrations and samples can address customer questions and make products memorable—a good way to boost a brand's image and, consequently, sales.

Enhanced shopping experience

In a crowded marketplace, it's not enough to have high-quality consumer products and top-notch customer service. Many consumers expect shopping to offer something more—education, entertainment, or a memorable experience. Think about how to enhance the time that customers spend in your store or browsing your brand's items. For example, an interactive display can give shoppers a unique in-store experience to learn about a new product, get additional product recommendations, or even play a game to win a discount code.

Promotion of new products

Using POP displays to promote a new product can foster a sense of excitement and exclusivity about a new product in its launch period. Temporary POP displays are an easy and cost-effective way to attract customers and encourage them to try something new.

Easier seasonal marketing

It’s easy to create POP displays for seasonal marketing. Temporary displays and digital signage can be quickly repurposed for the holidays, back-to-school sales, and other events. In addition to promoting products, seasonal POP displays help create a festive atmosphere that encourages add-on or impulse buys.

Retail store POP marketing options

From shelf talkers to dump bins to permanent (or even semi-permanent) displays, there are many options for retail shops. Following are some of the most common types of in-store POP advertising.

POP displays

POP displays are diverse and versatile. They may be set up near a product, signs placed on shelves, or even dump bins—freestanding containers that hold items on a sales floor, often used for such products as snacks and beverages.

POP displays can be temporary, permanent, or semi-permanent and can be placed almost anywhere in the store—on the shelf next to products, as off-shelf displays, or even as secondary displays. These displays are located away from the product itself, often near related products. Read on to learn more about some specific types of POP displays below.

Endcap displays

Located at the end of store aisles, endcap displays drive sales by increasing visibility of the featured products. Endcaps are often used for seasonal products or special promotions. Because the area around the end of each aisle receives a lot of foot traffic, it's a good place to show off new products or inspire impulse purchases.

Checkout counter displays

Once customers get to the cash register, product displays placed at or near the checkout area are a great way to capture shoppers' attention, especially for small purchases that are often last-minute add-ons. These can be either temporary or permanent displays in which the products are rotated seasonally or to promote new items.

Shelf talkers

Shelf talkers are displays attached to shelves that draw shoppers’ eyes to certain products. They often have limited display space, so they feature just a few words or an image and aren’t meant to list all of a product’s features. Instead, they’re a type of POP display that is meant to draw attention to the product itself or highlight a particular brand or a discount offer.

Digital signage

Add a technological twist to your POP displays by using digital options like video screens or projections. These are attention-grabbing and allow you to change the content easily. In addition, displays can be used for multiple products at the same time by showing a rotating series of content.


The way your store and products are lit can make a difference. Lighting can highlight a purchase display or featured product, drawing customers' attention. It can also guide a shopper's journey, create focal points, and build a warm and inviting environment, encouraging more shoppers to linger and increase sales.

QR codes

Quick response (QR) codes are everywhere. Place QR codes on POP displays so shoppers can scan and access product information or discounts. QR codes can also help manage inventory by allowing customers to order custom versions of products or additional sizes and specifications via a website, eliminating the need to keep every product on hand.

Interactive displays or kiosks

Consider making your POP displays interactive. These point-of-purchase advertising tools may use touchscreens to encourage shoppers to learn about a product or choose a discount coupon. They can be temporary or permanent displays that change the focus of their content as needed. Giving shoppers a chance to play an active role in the shopping experience makes it memorable and helps foster brand recall.

Samples and demos

Create interactive and immersive experiences for customers by offering them the chance to sample products or try out a product in-store. The warehouse retail chain Costco is known for its product samples, designed to introduce shoppers to new items. Incorporating point-of-purchase displays along with samples and product demos can reinforce brand recognition, as customers can have information, coupons, and even the product itself all at once.

Branded bags and packaging

Even after customers leave the point-of-sale, you still have an opportunity to spread the word about your business. Consider using custom-printed shopping bags or packaging that shows off your brand. While promotional materials can be expensive, they don't need to be. Even a sticker or a rubber stamp on a plain bag can catch other shoppers' attention and also allow you to change the design of your branding seasonally.

E-commerce POP marketing options

Online businesses can also use POP marketing to encourage customers to add more products to their purchases. Online shopping makes it especially easy to target a specific audience based on consumer behavior. Just make sure to understand and follow privacy and disclosure guidelines when collecting personal information and tracking web usage.

Offers during checkout

Even when a shopper is ready to make their purchase, there is still an opportunity to increase sales. Promoting products via POS displays at the checkout counter or offering coupons for additional products can encourage shoppers to add that “just one more” item.

Free-shipping thresholds

Many e-commerce shops offer free shipping once an order has reached a certain minimum amount to encourage shoppers to add more to their cart. To set your free shipping threshold, consider factors like average order size and shipping costs. You can also use a marketing experiment like A/B testing to try different minimum purchase levels to see which is most effective.

Make sure your free shipping minimum is low enough to encourage additional purchases, but not so low that it cuts into your profits. Once you've set your minimum, keep an eye on customer feedback to adjust it or offer limited-time lower thresholds to draw attention to seasonal promotions.

Personalized recommendations

E-commerce is particularly well suited for offering customers real-time product recommendations based on their browsing behavior. Your e-commerce site can suggest products based on their interests and preferences—an option built into many e-commerce POS systems.

Membership and loyalty programs

Rewarding shoppers for their brand loyalty is a great way to increase sales. A membership program that awards points for purchases, reviewing products, or visiting brick-and-mortar stores boosts shoppers' motivation to keep coming back and buying more, especially if they're notified of sales and discounts once they sign into their account.

Social proof metrics

A social proof metric is information that demonstrates the success or popularity of a product based on the behavior, buying habits, or feedback of other customers. Social proof metrics include things like customer reviews or social media comments. Customers often make purchasing decisions based partially on whether a product seems to be popular, trendy, or well-liked by celebrities and social media influencers. A brand can incorporate social-proof metrics into its marketing strategy by featuring customer reviews on product pages and highlighting products that are trending on social media.

Abandoned cart messaging

Research by the Baymard Institute has found that 70% of online shoppers abandon their cart before completing a purchase! You can prevent these customers from leaving empty-handed. Send automated notifications or emails to customers who have added items to their carts but left before completing the sale. Your POS software can help by reminding customers to complete their purchase and maybe even offering a discount or free shipping if they return to finish the transaction.

Five innovative ideas for point-of-purchase marketing

The ways to use POP marketing are limited only by your imagination, even for small businesses. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Idea #1: Put your POS system to work

A POS system is the hardware and software that manage your sales process. In addition to processing payments, many POS systems have features that help with POP marketing like gathering consumer data, tracking loyalty programs, and prompting cashiers to suggest additional items.

Idea #2: Coordinate your app with the in-store experience

If your retail store or brand has a mobile app, encourage consumers to use it while shopping by offering exclusive discounts and promotions, personalized recommendations, or the opportunity to scan a code on a POP display to add a product to a list of favorites.

Idea #3: Use pop-up POP marketing

Even if you don't have an entire store to sell your products, you can leverage the power of POP advertising. A pop-up shop is a temporary retail location or short-duration event. These marketing opportunities often take place in high-traffic locations and are a great opportunity to try out creative and innovative temporary displays and offers. They also create a sense of urgency through limited-time availability.

Idea #4: Train your staff to sell at the point-of-purchase

Don’t neglect the power of the personal touch—let your staff’s enthusiasm be an effective and personal selling tool. Customers love to hear personal recommendations. Training your staff on how to recommend and even demonstrate products can be the final push in a shopper’s purchasing decision.

Idea #5: Gamify your marketing efforts

Try incorporating gamification elements like points, rewards, or customer contests into your marketing. Encouraging shoppers to earn points by checking in on their phones while at the store or even posting pictures of their favorite POP displays makes the shopping experience entertaining and can encourage more store visits.

Once customers are at your retail location or e-commerce shop, you have a unique opportunity to use some of these marketing and sales promotion strategies. Effective point-of-purchase displays and other types of advertising will enhance your marketing strategy. Make shopping entertaining with strategic placement of displays and watch your sales increase!

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