What’s the Difference Between Point-Of-Sale (POS) and Point-Of-Purchase (POP)?
Gone are the days when good merchandising meant building a pyramid out of cans and boxes, taping on a sign, and calling it a day. Shoppers are smarter than ever before, and have a world of information as close as their purses or pockets. It’s time for retailers to get smarter, too. If you’re not differentiating between point-of-sale (POS) and point-of-purchase, you’re missing opportunities to sell, and to generate repeat business. Butler Merchandising Solutions can help you capitalize on these opportunities with solutions that are simple, creative, and highly effective.
What is the Point-of-Sale?
The point-of-sale, or POS, goes by a number of different names — register, cash wrap, front counter — and nearly every store has one. The POS can also be used to refer generically to the hardware and software your business uses not only to ring out your customers, but also to manage transactions and inventory.
As the POS — both in physical space and hardware — evolves, it’s given rise to some creative possibilities to give your sales a boost. A POS area that’s laid out well is a great place to highlight high-margin impulse buys that your customers can browse while they’re waiting on line. If your POS terminal has a customer-facing display, you can use it for messaging that guides purchasing decisions. The rise of near-field communication (NFC) and mobile apps also gives retailers the ability to send coupons, incentives, and ads that entice purchases. Other components, from good shelving to attractive signage and POS design, are a significant help with the POS area as well.
What is the Point-of-Purchase?
The Point-of-Purchase, or POP, is essentially any customer-facing part of your store that’s not your POS. POP displays can be something as simple as a well-curated and visually attractive end cap to an LED-based or digitally printed display that highlights a specific product or vendor.
Like the POS, the POP areas can be used to subtly influence and guide customer behavior. It may seem to be an art, but there’s a fair amount of science — psychology and many years of behavioral research — in play also. A well-designed and carefully implemented POP solution has another benefit as well. It lets smaller retailers compete on the same playing field as their much larger competitors, since a high-quality POP display is no longer just the territory of big box retail stores and chains like Walmart, Best Buy, or Schnucks.
Where the Line Blurs
While many people draw a distinction between mom-and-pop businesses that are neighborhood mainstays, and online giants like Amazon, the reality is much more complex. Many local businesses are following a “click-and-mortar” approach that combines the best of an online storefront with a physical presence. Ironically, even Amazon is now embracing a click-and-mortar approach.
Take a page from their playbook. Amazon stores are tightly integrated with their website. While you may not want your merchandise mix to be completely driven by algorithms, other tools in the Amazon arsenal are more promising. Integrate barcodes and NFC in your POP displays and POS area with your store’s website to facilitate product research and to encourage sharing on social media. You have an advantage; you can build relationships with your customers in ways that an anonymous multi-billion dollar behemoth can’t. Use it, and know that your POS and POP materials can help you tell your story better.
Leveraging Your Whole Store
If you’re neglecting either your POP or your POS, you’ll end up working harder than you should for diminishing returns. An advanced POS system can identify purchasing patterns, deadstock that should be returned to the vendor or clearanced, or the promotional efforts you’re trying that may or may not be working. Use it! Also don’t forget to change your displays on a regular basis. Your store will always look fresh, but sometimes even subtle changes can give your sales a lift. For consulting, fulfillment and logistics, and more, request a call with Butler Merchandising Solutions today!