POP vs POS: What's The Difference?

Posted on 05, November, 2015

Last Modified on 05, November, 2015

If you've ever been confused about what makes "POP" different from "POS", you are not alone! Many retail business owners and salespeople are confused about the difference between these terms. Though “point of purchase” and “point of sale” do sound very similar, POP and POS actually refer to the different areas of a store where customers go through different parts of their “buying journey.” Both locations and shopping processes are commonly seen in any big or small business, from apparel stores to restaurants. Read on to learn more about each term and how it applies to your business.

What is a POP?

What is Retail Point of Purchase

POP stands for “point of purchase.” The point of purchase area is defined as the area of a store that is planned and designed for product placement with the intention to increase sales potential. An example of a POP area is when you’re at your favorite grocery store and you see your favorite beverage being promoted at the end of an aisle in front of a cardboard cutout. The store uses this cutout to make the product space stand out from everything else. The point of purchase is not the actual cardboard display, which is called “POP Display”, but the section of the store which is used to display the featured product. This can be located anywhere in the store, from the back wall to behind the register. However, the term "point of purchase" also refers to the part of the buying process when the consumer sees the highlighted product, learns about it, and then decides to purchase it. The POP is the real selling power in the store.

What is a POS?

What is Retail Point of Sale? Point of sale (POS) is another area in a store where a certain part of the buying process occurs. Usually, this place is at the register or checkout counter in the store and it is where shoppers complete their buying process by exchanging money for a product or service. With today’s technology, POS does not pertain to only brick-and-mortar retail stores, but also applies to online e-commerce sites. With online shopping, the POS would be the part of the site where the person officially purchases their product.

Many people get confused because they think the term POS always refers to a POS system or retail management system, which is software used to process an electronic sales transaction and update stock inventories.

POP Displays

What is a Point of Purchase Display

POP displays are merchandising fixtures that are used at the point of purchase. Cardboard and wooden displays make perfect point of purchase displays for light food items, merchandise, DVDs, greeting cards, and many more types of products. Drop bins, racks, and shelving are also great for storing any kind of merchandise. Some displays come with headers that allow users to create a call to action or promote product or brand information.

POS System Displays & Fixtures

What is a Point of Sale System

POS displays are used at the actual point of sale location and help to facilitate the final step of the purchase process. POS mounts and fixtures are for holding for the systems that process transactions and update inventories. iPad POS system mounts increase productivity because the salesperson can use two hands to enter information instead of one while the other holds the tablet. Commercial iPad mounts are wall and desk mountable and also have the option to integrate a Kensington lock with the bracket to prevent theft. The POS system mounts also have options such as covering the tablet’s home button and camera, tilting, and switching between landscape and portrait mode. POS system arms, clamps, cases, and bumpers are also available.