What is a Point-of-Sale Display? An In-Depth Guide for Retailers

POS displays, also known as point-of-sale displays, are crucial in-store advertising tools that allow retailers to highlight products, promote offers, boost brand awareness, and ultimately drive those all-important impulse purchases right at the checkout counter (the “point-of-sale“).

Well-designed POS displays catch shoppers’ eyes, convey key information about products and deals in seconds, and lead to a measurable uptick in unplanned buys and revenue—making them a vital component of any brick-and-mortar retail marketing strategy.

Let’s do a deep dive into POS display essentials, including popular types of setups, ideal products to feature, design considerations for crafting displays that convert, and real stats on the measurable impact POS displays can have on retail sales.

The Core Types of POS Display Setups

Retailers leverage POS displays in several key areas of the store, tailored to different goals and products. Some of the most popular setups include:

Counter Displays

Compact and vying for attention right on the checkout counter, counter displays predominantly showcase impulse purchase items like packs of gum, breath mints, gift cards, phone chargers, and candy bars. Their positioning almost guarantees that a majority of customers will take notice.

In fact, an industry survey showed that a whopping 82% of shoppers make unplanned, spur-of-the-moment purchases when queued up at the checkout counter itself. Maximizing this prime real estate with strategic counter displays can generate huge dividends in incremental sales.

Floor Displays

Larger, eye-grabbing floor displays placed in high-visibility areas like store entrances, aisle ends, or seasonal departments primarily feature new product launches, high-demand goods, promotional offers, or holiday merchandise. Their larger footprint allows retailers to get creative in catching wandering eyes.

Industry surveys indicate 68% of customers actively notice in-store floor displays while shopping, and almost one quarter of those—a solid 24%—make a purchase directly from a floor display.

Lightbox Displays

Lightboxes ratchet up the eye-catching element with bright LED lights surrounding an enclosed display case that typically spotlights logos, slogan graphics, deals, or specific products. Contemporary and sleek, a well-designed lightbox display can make products literally shine while differentiating your brand.

Industry estimates peg the sales growth from lightbox POS displays as high as 107% over traditional non-illuminated options. When positioned in high-traffic store areas, they can almost singularly draw shoppers to featured items or promotions.

Shelf Talkers

Unlike standalone displays, shelf talkers consist of small signage attached directly to shelving where the featured product sits. Often printed on mini posters, stickers, or danglers, shelf talkers highlight specific product attributes, prices, ratings, comparisons, new flavors, bundle deals, and more.

Shelf talkers aren’t as visually commanding as some other POS options, but can still pack a powerful sales punch. Around 76% of shoppers do read shelf talkers when considering a product, and 29% credit the shelf talker itself for their eventual purchase.

Beyond attention-grabbing lightboxes, retailers might also incorporate interactive elements like touchscreens, product samples, QR codes, or augmented reality into modern POS display designs with success.

Ideal Products to Feature In Your POS Display

Point of Sale Floor Display

Theoretically, any product can land itself in a POS display. But some categories tend to yield better ROI from the premium placement than others. Think impulse purchases, smaller items with mass appeal, or frequent restock categories like:

● Soft drinks, juices, and non-alcoholic beverages
● Candy, chocolate, mints, and chewing gum
● Magazines and paperback novels
● Small accessories like phone chargers or earbuds
● Personal care goods like lip balm or hand sanitizer
● Gift cards or phone cards
● Tobacco products and lighters
● Snack items bought in bulk batches

These convenient, mass-market products already enjoy brisk sales velocity even without extra promotion. Positioning them in clever POS displays where the maximum number of shoppers will encounter them. That drives incremental sales even further thanks to catchy presentation and thoughtful placement.

Design Principles for POS Display Excellence

POS displays demand eye-catching aesthetics, concise copy, and strategic placement to drive the highest conversion. Some best practices include:

Grab Their Attention

In an era of information overload, retailers only have seconds to capture a shopper’s focus before they back out. That makes attention-getting design elements like vibrant colors, high-contrast graphics, visually impactful photography, large text, and smart incorporation of negative space essentials for POS displays.

Lean on Bright Colors and Imagery

Vivid colors and lifestyle imagery that connects with the target demographic ensure POS displays stand out from static surroundings. Coupled with simplified text headers summarizing the value proposition or deal in 3-5 words? Shoppers looking to scan while in motion can still grasp key takeaways.

Spotlight Your Brand Personality

Product-specific displays offer retailers a chance to spotlight visual brand identity through logo placement, stylized graphics aligned with branding guidelines, and reinforcing consistent personality visually across store displays, which subconsciously signals quality and reliability to shoppers.

Overcommunicate Benefits

Imagine how a harried parent shopping with kids in tow encounters your display. In literal seconds, make it abundantly clear through succinct text and thought-provoking graphics why purchasing this product simplifies life or solves a common problem for them. Lead them down the path to where they’re already swiping a credit card in their mind.

Quantify Value

Specifying dollar amounts, percentages, multi-buy savings, or before-and-after comparisons numerically on a POS display empowers the logical parts of shoppers’ brains to justify impulse buys. If a shelf talker notes “2 for $5!” or “50% More Free,” the shopper now consciously quantifies a worthwhile deal.

Personalize the Message

A mass retail audience still consists of individuals. Using language like “For savvy parents…” or “Help your kids excel…” personalizes displays to motivators and values for niche segments browsing your store. It subliminally signals “this message is for someone like me.”

POS Display Station

Real-World Impact: How POS Displays Influence Sales

Beyond driving impulse purchases in the moment, well-leveraged POS displays boost metrics like:

Unplanned Buys: Around 68% of total supermarket purchases happen spontaneously instead of shopping lists.

Brand Awareness: 76% of impulse shoppers discover a new product or brand from an in-store display.

Store Revenue: Stores utilizing POS displays enjoy more than 5% higher gross sales than those without.

Purchase Influence: 29% of shoppers directly credit a shelf talker POS display for their purchase decision.

Basket Size: Impulse purchases driven by captivating displays average $2-$5 each, expanding basket sizes rapidly.

The Bottom Line

POS displays are an invaluable retail tool, commanding attention in high-traffic store areas to clearly promote products and pricing to customers ready to make impulse purchases—68% of supermarket buys happen spontaneously thanks to POS displays.

A strategic imperative for brick-and-mortar retailers, purposeful POS display design and placement captures shopper focus to drive measurable gains in basket size, revenue, and brand awareness.

The influence power within POS displays comes from simplifying text and graphics to inspire impulse buys. Retailers now live or die based on their mastery of display merchandising arts at the point of sale itself—a make-or-break retail competency.

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