POS vs. POP - Understanding the Differences and Benefits

Sales strategies, especially when it comes to new business, are often developed by business owners in order to increase the company's bottom line and develop a loyal customer base. Part of this economic development must include knowing where to strategically place goods throughout the store and checkout sections. In the early stage, this will require some trial and error, but once mastered, this thoughtful product placement has the ability to entice curious window shoppers and turn them into purchasers. Two frequently utilized placement areas are the POP, Point of Purchase, and the POS, the Point of Sale.

Here, we'll discuss the differences between the POP and POS, as well as the benefits that can be gained when utilizing both effectively.


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POS and POP are terms that understandably get confused with one another. POS, or the Point of Sale, refers to the place where an item is purchased, be it at a cash register or check out section online.

POP, or the Point of Purchase, is the actual physical location that the item is purchased, such as the store or the name of the website online. For example, a shopper who buys some clothing goes to the retailer, or POP, and after choosing their items, makes their purchase at the POS, or checkout counter.

Supply chains and retailers need to understand the value of each and how they interact with one another in order to create effective displays of their products.

POP Displays

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Not only is POP the physical location or website of a store itself, but it can also refer to a strategic area within the store for retailers to display products, like merchandising installations. The display should communicate a message to shoppers and grab their attention, informing of promotional offers or newly reduced items.

For example, during the holiday season, Victoria's Secret uses black bins on tables that are separated into 8 or 10 sections, each containing discounted undergarments that are separated by size. These bins are always placed at the front of the store and are difficult to miss. Strategically speaking, it's a good place to catch a potential buyer's attention. So, it's important for retailers to take note of where they put their POP product displays, and discern which are most effective in capturing the shopper's attention. For example, presenting perishable items in highly visible locations prevent the wastage of such goods from going bad before being sold.

POS Displays

In brick and mortars, a POS display is used at the exit of the store to facilitate the final stop of the shopper's trip. These can include half-off bins or fixtures that offer discount items at the checkout line while customers are waiting. In grocery stores, POS displays typically include the magazines, bubble gum, and candy that are strategically placed on shelving units neighboring the register. If placed properly, POS displays can be a place for shoppers to make last-minute purchasing decisions, which increases the retailer's bottom line.

POS technology that is used to conduct transactions is an important part of the retailer's sale strategy. These technologies are referred to as POS sales systems, or software and hardware purchased by retailers that tracks how many transactions are made on a daily basis. Currently, tablet enclosures and touchscreen mounts are often used as a POS sales system. Any type of POS technology needs to be very intuitive in order to facilitate the customer's checkout experience. Reliable POS technology improves the efficiency of transactions and accommodates different payment methods, offering a better customer experience.

POP & POS Sales Strategies

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There's much to consider when implementing a POP and POS sales strategy, but first retailers need to assess what their ultimate goals are. Is it simply to increase the bottom line, build brand awareness, develop customer loyalty, or upsell the competition? Odds are, the goals include a combination of most of these, but retailers need to determine which are the most valuable.

Once retailers have recognized what their POP and POS display sales goals are, they can then move forward into the next phase of creating their displays, while keeping the following in mind.

  • Trial and Error is Best
Gauge what worked last time and what didn't work in a POP or POS display. How many promotional items sold out? Did the display capture the customer's attention? Was it not a visually effective display fixture? Retailers can learn from previous experiences in order to alter their future POS and POP display campaigns. Retailers can also try unusual variations or updates in their display to see if it affects sales and attracts attention.

  • Include Powerful Visuals
Displays should incorporate the company's brand and draw in the shopper so they feel comfortable and willing to move forward into the role of the purchaser. Try large display billboards or color variations that give valuable product information, and facilitate a call to action

  • Be Creative
The sales strategy must use the creative expertise of the entire company and be willing to do something different. If the company is used to doing business as usual and is unwilling to incorporate new ideas in their product displays, it might be difficult to stand out amongst the competition, or acquire new customers. If necessary, businesses should move their displays around the floor, try new packaging, and upgrade their POS sales systems.

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