Posted on 30, April, 2015
Last Modified on 27, February, 2023
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If you own a small business and haven't yet tried to take advantage of point of purchase displays and impulse items, then you're missing out! Learn the importance of "point of sale" or "POS" marketing to your business and how exactly to encourage those ever-important impulse purchases.
What is Point of Sale?
Have you ever heard the expression “point of sale” referred to when people are talking about marketing efforts or types of store displays? Point of sale displays and point of sale marketing are exactly what they sound like: sale efforts employed at the place in the store where a purchase actually occurs like a checkout counter, cash register, or even a page of the internet. Point of sale displays are frequently used to encourage impulse sales at or around these locations. Whether through special promotions, signage, distinctive displays or even the particular type of merchandise, there are many ways small business owners can increase “impulse” style sales in the point of purchase locations of their stores.
Common Types of Point of Sale Merchandise:
- Inexpensive items
- Novelty items
- Sale products
- Food, candy, or snacks
- Bulk sold items
Impulse Purchases: A Psychological Response
Psychologically speaking, point of sale marketing works by triggering a something called a "problem recognition response" in consumers’ brains. Marketers often mark the exact moment a consumer realizes they need something, aka realize they have a “problem” that a product can solve, as the start of their “buying journey”. Upon visual exposure to merchandise in a retail setting, consumers may suddenly realize that they needed a particular product or service to solve a problem. Usually, the shopper is not conscious of this need until they actually see the item available in a store. As some marketers will say, “seeing is buying” and in impulse buying situations this is absolutely true. The sudden realization of a problem that can be solved by a particular product combined with a visually appealing or attractive atmosphere will cause even the best of us to make an untended purchase.
For example, have you ever bought a pack of gum at a gas station while you’re filling up your tank? You may have walked into that particular store just to put 20 bucks on pump 3, but the sudden visual exposure to certain merchandise - in this case, a pack of gum - triggered a problem recognition response in your brain. You don't want to have bad breath! So, impulsively, you added an inexpensive pack of Trident that had been sitting next to the checkout counter to your gas purchase. This reaction is a totally unconscious and emotional reaction to the point of sale setting and it has the potential to make business owners some serious moola! Small business owners only need to take what they know about this psychological impulse-driven reaction and put it to work effectively in their store environments. In other words, point of sale marketing takes “knowing your target market” to a whole new level.
Ways to Generate Impulse Purchases
Displays! It all starts with the beloved point of purchase display. These stands, bins, signs, and racks are what hold the merchandise around the checkout counter and cause people to buy!
Visibility! Remember, seeing is buying! Use color to influence the visibility of POS displays or signage. Contrasting or coordinating colors are great for getting customers' attention as they approach the checkout counter. Also make sure displays are placed in prominent and visible locations within the store.
Signage! Signage is absolutely essential is capturing consumers’ attention. Signs can advertise promotions, showcase merchandise, or announce sales. Make them colorful, attractive, and clear to cause the greatest effect on shoppers.
Promotions! Consumers’ perceived value of a product has a lot to do with whether or not they will make an impulse purchase. Many do not want to miss out on a good deal, or think to themselves “hey, what the heck, it’s on sale!” BOGO or buy-one-get-one specials can also be particularly affective.
Demonstrations! It’s all about creating a multi-sensory experience, one that will elicit the psychological impulse response discussed earlier. Product demonstrations are a great way to touch on all of our senses - sight, touch, taste, smell, and sound. Demonstrations involving food hit on 4 of the 5! Consider bolstering your point of purchase marketing strategy by expanding to include senses you might be missing.
Types of Point of Sale Displays
Finding the right point of purchase displays to fit your small business is an important aspect of generating those impulse sales. Depending on the type of merchandise you sell and the layout of your store’s point of purchase area, you’ll need to carefully choose the types of displays to use.
These displays are great for small, bulk items such as candies, make-up, & souvenirs. You’ll be able to find them in a huge variety of sizes to fit on even the smallest checkout counter.
Floor standing racks and shelves are awesome for saving space. The large fixtures also help draw attention to all types of merchandise. Great options include nesting tables, spinning racks, or dump bins.
Small but mighty, shelf talkers advertise sales and promotions at any point in the store without taking up too much space. Use them to direct customers to other displays or to promote store branding.
Posters & Signage
You’ll find signage readily available in a variety of price points, sizes, finishes, and styles to fit any store décor. Use posters and frames to showcase products, sales, promotions, or draw attention to particular displays with ease.
Even the least tech-savvy people can easily schedule and maintain programing and images on a TV monitor or digital picture frame. The bright, moving images will catch passing customers attention and potentially cause them to make a purchase.
If poster frames and digital signage had a baby, it would be light oxes. These cool frames hold LED lights that brightly illuminate the signage they hold. Talk about attention grabbing!
Now that you know all about point of sale displays and the psychology behind these impulse marketing efforts, give it a shot and apply what you've learned to your small business!