What Is a Point-of-Purchase Display?

Definition & Examples of Point-of-Purchase Displays

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A point-of-purchase (POP) display is marketing material or advertising placed next to the merchandise it is promoting. These items are generally located in the checkout area or where purchase decisions are made.

Learn more about POP displays and how they can be one of the most underutilized tools in retail.

  • Acronym: POP display

What Is a Point-of-Purchase Display?

Point-of-purchase displays are printed or digital displays placed near advertised items and where customers make purchasing decisions. Unlike marketing campaigns designed to get customers in stores, POP displays focus on customers' in-store experience by bringing attention to particular brands or special offers.

Seventy percent of retail purchases aren't decided until the customer is in the store.

How Point-of-Purchase Displays Work

POP displays have become a staple strategy for manufacturers, and many vendors will have some sort of POP material they can provide for free use in retail stores. This material will highlight the product and draw the customers' attention to it, which is important in a retail store crammed with similar merchandise. 

POP displays can be as simple as a sign or as elaborate as a display carton. For example, a retailer may use a shelf talker—a sticker stuck to the end of a shelf to draw attention as the customer walks down the aisle—or they may create a full display where the vendor's products are merchandised inside it. Think of a free-standing display with the vendor's branding on it, with only its merchandise on display inside. 

POPs have moved from the traditional cash wrap location to other locations in the store. In its early forms, you would only find POP displays and materials in the cash register area. However, nowadays, manufacturers and retailers have discovered that POP displays can be placed throughout a store with great success.

Types of Point-of-Purchase Displays

POP displays come in many different forms. The most common types are:

Vendor Shops

The most elaborate POP display is a vendor shop, which is essentially a "store within a store" idea where a vendor places a section in the retail store that sets its merchandise apart from the rest. Vendor shops are common amongst consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies that compete for limited shelf space in stores. Instead of just having product placement on shelves, using vendor shops allows CPG companies to bring increased attention to a particular product. 

Freestanding Displays

Freestanding displays are standalone displays that give attention to a particular product. These displays are typically made from cardboard, so there are many ways companies can get creative with the presentation.

Dump Bins

Dump bins are also standalone displays, but they're not quite as organized as freestanding displays. Dump bins are larger and typically feature small, individually packaged goods, such as candy.

Endcap Displays

Endcap displays are placed at the end of an aisle, allowing customers to view the advertised product without going down the particular aisle. Endcap displays resemble freestanding displays in their organization, but the key difference is that freestanding displays can be placed anywhere throughout a store, endcap displays are only found at the end of aisles.

Banner Stands

Banner stands are a type of standalone signage that can be placed throughout a store with relative ease. They are larger than most POP displays, but their mobility gives retailers flexibility in where they position them. Most POP displays will hold the physical products being advertised, but banner stands only act as signage and advertisement.

Point-of-Purchase vs. Point-of-Sale

POP displays and point-of-sale (POS) displays have many similarities, but the fundamental difference between them is location. POP displays are placed where customers make purchasing decisions, while POS displays are placed where customers buy products, such as the cash register.

You can find POP displays throughout a store, but POS displays will almost exclusively be at the checkout area. POP displays do a great job at promoting a product or sale, while POS displays are good at encouraging consumers to make impulse purchases.

Key Takeaways

  • POP displays are advertising materials placed near the advertised product.
  • POP displays include signage, standalone displays, aisle fixtures, and banners.
  • POP displays can either be printed or digital.
  • POP displays differ from POS displays because they're placed throughout a store, not just at the checkout area.