The marketing terms "point of purchase (POP)" and "point of sale (POS)" sound very similar but represent two different concepts. It's easier to remember the distinction by saying "point of purchase displays," because that's exactly what point of purchase refers to: marketing displays intended to convince a shopper to make a purchase. On the other hand, "point of sale" refers to the method in which the customer's payment is collected.

Do you use point of purchase displays for your small business? You might without even realizing it, but once you understand how they work, you can put this small but mighty tactic to work. Best of all, it's a cheap or even free strategy to implement.

How Point of Purchase Displays Work

Point of purchase displays are intended to get consumers to add more products to their cart. The idea behind point of purchase displays is that most shoppers have entered the store to make a purchase, and they can easily be convinced to make an additional purchase with a well-thought-out point of purchase display.

The goal is to create strategically located displays for affordable, seasonal or on-sale items in order to encourage people to make a purchase without a ton of forethought. Point of purchase tactics can also be used in print advertisements to showcase great deals on products and online to upsell related items.

Different Examples of POP Displays

Imagine the ice cream section in your local grocery store. You could easily be convinced to buy some chocolate sauce and ice cream cones for an even more delicious ice cream experience, but you're not willing to track them down in some obscure aisle in the store. You turn around and see a little shelf with sauces and cones within easy reach. You decide to splurge for a treat since it's right there in front of you.

Now that you're aware of point of purchase displays like the one above, chances are you'll notice them far more often the next time you go shopping. Smart businesses use them to their advantage all the time. Think about the candies that you stare at while waiting in line at checkout or the seasonal displays that greet you as you walk into the store. All of these are examples of point of purchase displays.

Online, you can see point of purchase displays in action in the "related items" section on a product page. If you're buying a coloring book, you'll likely see advertisements for markers or colored pencils to go with it. And it's not a bad suggestion, so you decide to get some, even though originally you were only thinking about the coloring book.

Point of Purchase Marketing

How can you use point of purchase marketing for your small business? Think about grouping related products together in your store. What do people often buy together? Make sure they're within easy reach.

What kinds of small and/or cheap items can people be convinced to buy on a whim or as a gift? Place those near your checkout register so customers have time to look at them. If you have any new products that just came in or that are particularly trendy, create an attractive display that greets customers front-and-center as they enter your store. There is also some research that suggests placing items at eye-level or on the end cap encourages buyers to make a purchase.

Take a look at your online storefront as well. Is it easy to navigate in order to find related products? A good web design that includes point of purchase marketing tactics adapted to e-commerce can go a long way toward increasing your sales and revenue.