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POP vs POS Display: Which Is Right For Me?

Time to read 8 min

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If you’ve been looking into retail displays recently, you’ve probably come across the terms POP and POS - and you’re wondering “what’s the difference?”

These terms are often used interchangeably, but they are two different categories of displays.

The goal of this article is to clear up the confusion, and explain exactly what these displays are, and more importantly when to use them!

Next, let’s unpack these elements of the consumer journey to continue to clear this up.

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

To a marketer, the differences between these two sales is stark! So you need to know the difference.

The quickest way to understand the difference is that a POP (point-of-purchase) Display refers to displays that are out in the retail environment, anywhere that isn’t close to the checkout register.

The POS (point-of-sale) Display refers to displays that are near the checkout register, or in key areas close to it.

What Is A POP Display?

A POP Display refers to points of in-store interactions between a customer and a product. That can be a wide range of interactions, including shelves, a specialized display that’s a billboard, or other promotional material.

This is where a buyer considers purchasing a product, this is before the actual decision to take it to the checkout. They see the product, consider the benefits, and decide if it’s something they want.

These displays can offer a single SKU, combinations of SKUs, and more. This can be a Dump Bin, Floor Display, Full-Pallet, and more.

By incorporating a POP Display into your strategy, you will increase the number of customer facing displays at retail and club stores, increasing your presence at the store.

And, as we mentioned a POP Display can simply be a piece of promotional material. This is all about raising awareness of new products.

What Is A POS Display?

A POS Display refers to the customer’s interaction with products at the checkout or register. This is where the sale actually happens - “Point-of-sale”.

The purpose of these displays is to draw a customer’s attention to your products, typically an impulse purchase or small items.

Think about the cooler of drinks on display, the candy and gum, the magazine racks, the small items on display that are easy to include in a purchase.

These displays are all about impulse last minute purchases - rather than planned ones.

Differences In Design

Next, we’ll get into the differences in design. 

A POS Display will usually have a small number of low price, low weight items. Sometimes there will be a variety, but most of the time they will be the same item on display.

Using a POS Display like a PDQ Tray allows you to neatly organize your products, and include product benefits on the sides and front of the display, to educate the customer a bit.

While POP Displays are much larger, and vary greatly in size, weight, and even products and arrangement.

A POP Display is designed specifically for the product type, beverage, food, electronic, health, toy, etc - and there's a much larger variety of display types to choose from.

The similarities between the two display types are in the execution. Things like color psychology, product benefits, high-resolution graphics, all are a must to attract customers and encourage purchases.

Due to the smaller size of a POS Display, you must be succinct.

POP vs. POS Sales Strategies

Now that we’ve established the differences between the two displays, let’s talk about how you can incorporate them into your marketing and sales strategies.

The Role of POP Displays in a Sales Strategy

POP Displays are a great way to place your products in high traffic areas and get the attention of customers.

They’re also crucial in moving your products off of the shelf, and away from competition. This way they can become the customer’s sole focus.

POP Display Strengths:

  • More quantity of products
  • Great for sales, promotions, + new items
  • Including a combination of products
  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Placed in high-traffic areas

Customer Buying Decisions

The biggest opportunity with a POP Display is to include product benefits on the side of the display, and to create a “billboard effect” with a stack of your products and their packaging.

A customer will stop at your display, examine your product, and run through their own personal checklist if the product fits into their life.

By moving a POP Display on the store floor, you can catch them around certain items in the store, and increase your odds.

Point-of-Purchase also stands for the point in which a customer decides to buy.

As you can see, it’s crucial to include a POP Display into your next marketing campaign.

That means you need to consider when your item is best seen by a customer.

The Role of POS Displays in a Sales Strategy

The location of a POS Display is limited, and most brands will opt for a non-custom approach because of this. Don’t do this!

How can you stand out if you use the same display as everyone else?

A POS Display is sometimes a product's only front facing display in an entire store. So it’s crucial to use a custom approach to enhance your offerings.

POS Display Strengths:

  • At the register - where all customers go!
  • Impulse purchases
  • Can be semi-permanent displays
  • Single packaged items
  • Smaller and cheaper products
  • Great for sales, promotions, new items

Customer Buying Decisions

The biggest benefit of a POS Display is that all customers will need to visit the checkout!

So they’re almost guaranteed to see your product.

That makes a POS Display a crucial sales tool.

These purchases are all about spontaneous, last minute impulses. Something they want, that they didn’t know they needed.

These are also great for a Buy One Get One (BOGO) sale, or using special packaging to catch their attention at the register.

Think about specialty stores, like pet stores - what is right there at the register for sale?

POP and POS Takeaways

To give you some key takeaways about these displays, here’s a few distinguishing traits:

  • POP stands for “point-of-purchase” and refers to anything that customers interact with in-store when they are deciding whether or not to purchase a product.
  • POP Displays come in all shapes and sizes, and do cost more than POS.
  • POP Displays are usually bigger displays, and can offer more products.
  • POS stands for “point-of-sale” and refers to the actual transaction that occurs when the customer buys the product.
  • POS Displays may be the only front facing display in a store.
  • POS Displays are focused on impulse purchases at the register.
  • Both POP and POS Displays draw customers in with their product benefits and design, and create an organized product presentation.

Choosing Your Display Type

Now that you have a clear understanding about what separates the two displays, let’s talk about which style best suits your next campaign.

The right answer generally depends on your objective.

Stay versatile

A POP Display offers much more opportunities for customization, mainly due to the variety of display options. For a full list - check out our products.

These displays can be placed anywhere in the store, and you can even have an agreement with most retailers where you try different store positions to learn where you sell the best.

You can choose a hanging display to drive awareness, a Dump Bin to allow bulk merchandise to be on display, or even a display that offers a combination of products that sell together.

With a POP Display you’ll have a wider range of possibilities to choose the display strategy that’s right for you.

Where as a POS Display is typically close to the register, meaning the options are a bit more limited. That doesn’t mean you can’t be custom!

There are a number of ways to still stand out with a unique POS Display, you just need the right team.

Promote your brand

A POS Display will promote your brand and raise awareness, but only in one place. If that fits your product, then it’s the right choice.

If instead you aren’t near the register, then you should be considering which POP Display is right for you.

There are so many high traffic areas you can target with a POP Display!

Increase revenue

Everyone is trying to increase revenue, so both displays will help you do that with an effective strategy.

If your product is small enough for a POS Display, then it can lead to a large amount of impulse purchases from customers. A POS Display also takes advantage of the size and store allotment of the highest traffic area ever!

But a POP Display will put you out on the store floor where customers are putting items in their cart.

It really depends on the type of products you have, but you could even use a combination of displays to maximize exposure.

Finally, When To Use A POP Or POS Display

This article should give you enough information about the different variables regarding the different display types and when to use them.

But remember, these are general recommendations and a custom display of any kind can do wonders for you sales. You should talk with a manufacturer about your next project to determine your best sales strategy.

While both of these displays will raise awareness and sell your products at retail, consider this:

Choose A POP Display For:

  • Larger quantities of products
  • Sales, promotions, new items
  • Combination product selling

Choose A POS Display For:

  • Smaller / lighter products
  • Single packaged products
  • Impulse purchases

Cut Costs And Use A Co-Packer

There are a range of services some companies can offer you, and Co-Packing is one you should really consider. By having one company design, manufacture, and then handle assembly, pack-out, shipping and fulfillment, you can start saving!

Learn more about Co-Packing

Bennett Makes Retail POP & POS Displays!

Bennett is a premier packaging and retail displays manufacturing company striving to protect and promote our clients' products with customized corrugated solutions. When you work with us, you’re part of the family. We will partner with you every step of the way.

With our fully-integrated design-to-delivery process, we can be the single supplier source. We are an award-winning manufacturer of virtually anything corrugate. We offer everything from plain brown shipping boxes to sophisticated, high-graphic printed point-of-purchase displays, and everything in between.

Contact Bennett today about your next display

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a POP Display?

A Point-of-Purchase Display (POP) is any display that is located on the store floor, away from the register or checkout. These can sell single items, combinations of items, or simply be a billboard to raise awareness at retail. This is a large category encompassing a number of display types.

What is a POS Display?

A Point-of-Sale Display (POS) is any display that is at or near the checkout aisle. POS Displays are all about impulse purchases, last minute items you didn't know you needed. These displays are in the highest traffic areas of the store, and typically sell small and lightweight items.