Point-of-purchase, or P-O-P marketing, refers to messages delivered to target consumers at the point that they make purchase decisions at the retail store or on a retail website. P-O-P includes a variety of promotional techniques and visual displays intended to capture customer attention at this crucial moment.
Point-of-purchase marketing plays a critical role in driving customer purchase decisions. Approximately 70 percent of all consumer purchase choices are made while at the store. This means that even when consumers show up with a shopping list, they still compare options on the shelf to find the best bang for the buck. When effective, P-O-P messages can draw a consumer's attention during this critical point of analysis.
Aisle displays, shelf-based coupon holders, on-package coupons, posters, and more recently, digital displays are common examples of point-of-purchase techniques. Posters and digital displays use brand-building to influence a consumer to consider a product's merits. Coupons on the shelf or attached to packages attempt to persuade a consumer by appealing to his value orientation. An uncertain customer may be pulled in by the opportunity to save a dollar or two at that point.
P-O-P is often a more reactive approach to marketing that is rarely emphasized in a company's marketing plan. Some use it to combat competitor promotions or simply to emphasize price benefits in a highly competitive industry. Cereal aisles in supermarkets are commonly loaded with coupon offers for $1 off three boxes or similar promotions. Marketers should be cautious about overusing point-of-sale promotions that may discount the value of a brand over time.
A major difference between point-of-purchase marketing and traditional mass media advertising is POP's effort to persuade. TV and radio commercials, along with print ads, are used to build brand awareness and direct a consumer's buying interests before he even arrives at the point-of-purchase. However, given the propensity for last-minute choices, marketers realize they need to put some effort into appealing to customers who are still open-minded when they arrive at the store.