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What’s the Difference Between Point of Sale and Point of Purchase Displays?

With more and more options for retail displays available, sometimes it can be confusing to separate industry terms from one another. Though they may initially seem alike, in fact there are several subtle differences between point of sale and point of purchase displays that can have a big impact on your sales.

Here, we’re going to answer the age-old question, “What is the difference between Point of Sale and Point of Purchase displays?” Let’s get this cleared up so you can be sure you’re ordering what you’re mentally picturing.

Point of Sale Displays:
Yes, Point of Purchase (POP) and Point of Sale (POS) displays both operate primarily with the goal of encouraging your customers to impulse buy through specific, pin-pointed retail merchandising.

Point of Sale Display - POS Display

However, Point of Sale Displays are conveniently located where the customer will pay for their items. The Point of Sale is the physical checkout or cash register. More recently, Points of Sale have become increasingly tech-based, so this can refer to the physical register in a brick-and-mortar store, or the online checkout of an e-retailer. It can also include location-based technology, which combines the tech-side with the in-store experience. Think: tablet e-menus you’ve seen at restaurants or tablets where you can check into appointments and learn more about products at electronic stores, for example.

THE FINAL BREAKDOWN: Point of Sale displays promote products at the exact space where purchases are being made. They give a customer information about the product at the exact same place where the transaction of the purchase will be completed.

Point of Purchase Displays:
If the POS Display is where the transaction actually occurs, then the POP is where the customer makes the decision to buy an item.

It’s the “product placement” zone, where customers are educated about the benefits of a product, learn about any special promotions going on, and can often view the product in singular units at eye-level, instead of just stacked on the shelves.

Point of Purchase Display - POP Display

POP displays are designed to show off a specific product, are often highly customized to include fast facts, and encourage customers to make a purchase. A POP display is essentially a cardboard salesman. They’re made up of standalone or fixture shelving displays and can be located anywhere throughout the store (though usually, they’re placed in highly-trafficked areas to increase buying power.) Like POS displays, some POP displays also incorporate technology into their selling strategies.

THE FINAL BREAKDOWN: Remember that you can’t actually buy a product at a Point of Purchase Display. You can only learn about the product and decide whether or not you want to buy it. To actually complete the transaction, you must go to the Point of Sale Display.

Hopefully we’ve cleared up the difference between POP vs POS displays. Now, you’ve learned that you can inform your customers and promote your product from both angles, not simply one or the other. We’re always breaking down industry terminology for our readers, so keep checking back with us for more information.

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Posted in Display and Packaging Design, Retail Display Examples