What Is Point-of-Purchase Advertising?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated December 5, 2022

Published February 25, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Point of purchase advertising increases the visibility of a brand or product in order to promote purchases. When retailers stimulate a customer's curiosity, they are more likely to make a purchase. Understanding point-of-purchase advertising can help you create an effective promotional campaign for your brand and increase sales.

In this article, we explain what point of purchase advertising is, some common types used and their benefits.

What is point-of-purchase advertising?

Point of purchase advertising, or POP, is a marketing material that retailers use in their stores to promote products, catch consumers' attention and incite them to buy. It is also a term referring to the strategic placement of products in the store.

POP often takes the form of a display near checkout lanes and aisles, and the objective of this technique is to generate an impulsive purchase right before leaving the store. Marketers base this technique on research showing that placing specific products near a cash register with a point-of-purchase advertising display catches a shopper's attention. This curiosity makes the shopper strongly consider getting the product as they check out.

Related: What Is the Purpose of Advertisements? (With Tips)

Who uses point-of-purchase advertising?

Both retailers and vendors benefit from POP. Usually, vendors provide POP displays to retailers who use them. Vendors use POP material as a staple strategy to highlight their products and catch the customers' attention. They often provide it for free to retail stores in an effort to increase sales.

Retailers can create and use POP advertising to draw attention to specific products they want to promote in their stores.

Related: What Is Pop-up Marketing and How Do You Use It?

POP advertising display types

Here are common types of point-of-purchase advertising displays:

  • Temporary displays: Temporary displays are designed to last for several months or less and usually feature a discount or seasonal promotion.

  • Semi-permanent displays: Semi-permanent displays can last between three months and a year. Retailers sometimes call them secondary displays or off-shelf displays.

  • Permanent displays: Permanent displays can last for years and are less common.

  • Signage: Signage is one of the most powerful POP techniques and consists of using signs to draw the customer's attention to the product. It can be a poster, sticker, sign on the shelf, a hanging display or some other type of sign.

  • Vendor shop: The vendor shop is the most elaborate POP method. It is a separate space in a retail store that presents only a specific vendor's merchandise, like a store within a store.

Read more: Point of Purchase (POP) Displays: Definition and Benefits

Where is point-of-purchase advertising used?

Point of purchase advertising can be used in any part of a store. Traditionally, retailers used to place POP displays and materials only in the cash register area. They have discovered that POP displays can also initiate purchases when placed throughout a store, so you can find point-of-purchase displays in different locations of a store or even outside the store.

Related: Main Types of Consumer Products (With Examples of Each)

POP advertising strategies

POP advertising can also be a simple sign. For example, a sticker on a shelf to draw the attention of customers as they travel the aisle of a grocery store or a full display with products and the vendor's brand on it are both POP techniques.

The point-of-purchase advertising method requires a vibrant design that makes a product visually stand out. It can include stickers on the floor and other advertising around the product.

If you want to use POP, you should consider basing your strategy on:

  • Customer expectation: The POP promotes the benefits that customers can expect from the product.

  • Consumer demand: You can study what customers need and display the point of purchase products based on that information.

  • Competition: Observing what the competition is doing and understanding what works well and what doesn't is essential in a POP strategy.

Related: FAQ: What Is Consumer Spending? (and Why It's Important)

Benefits of POP advertising

Advantages of POP advertising include:

1. It's strategically located

POP displays can be signs that retailers put on shelves or free-standing displays. This gives the flexibility to choose the location of products. You can place them in high-traffic areas within the store or next to other products customers may use with yours. POP displays can be used in non-traditional locations.

Related: 30 Examples of Customer Touchpoints and Why They're Important

2. It targets impulse buyers

Customers who are in the store already likely have the intention of buying something, so it is easier to invite them to choose a specific product or add one to their list of purchases. The advertising is more likely to be effective if the person viewing it has the opportunity to buy that product immediately. Many purchase decisions are unplanned and happen in the store, especially in the food and beverage industry. Therefore, a compelling point-of-purchase marketing strategy can have a positive impact on your sales.

Related: 11 Types of Customer Buying Behaviors

3. It's cost-effective

POP advertising typically allows brands to communicate whatever they need to say for a lower cost than in paid media advertising. The message can be tailored to fit a sign, cardboard display or store poster. It is also an easier way to target a relevant audience with an immediate impact.

4. It adds messaging

You most likely want to communicate about your product to as wide an audience as possible. There are many things to say, and your message might need more space than what is available on the packaging. A point-of-purchase display gives you that additional space to tell buyers about the unique features of your product.

Related: What Is a Product Message? (And How You Can Make One)

5. It helps merchandise your products

When it comes to merchandising, retailers can be limited by their understanding of the brand or by the physical space and time they can dedicate to the process. Brands need to ensure that retailers effectively merchandise their products. By presenting their product with a display, vendors demonstrate precisely how they want their brand to be promoted in the store.

Related: Learn About Being a Merchandiser

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