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Everything You Need To Know About Point Of Sale Displays

Updated: Jul 8, 2021

One of the most strategic ways to increase sales while consolidating brand awareness in-store is through Point-of-Sale displays, commonly known as POS displays.

POS is high-value real estate for branding because it is ideally situated in a place where consumers are making the actual purchase decision.

POS displays’ positioning makes them one of the marketing channels with the highest return on investment and an absolute necessity in any brand’s retail marketing arsenal.

What is a POS Display?

A POS Display is a specialised promotional display located at or near to a checkout register in a retail store. Typically, they are used to market convenience items and are designed to attract customers’ attention as well as facilitate impulse buying.

What are the common types of POS Displays?

There are a variety of creative ways to display products at the point of sale, such as:

  1. Counter-top displays: Small displays that are situated on the counter near the checkout, which are useful when you need to present marketing brochures or small products.

  2. Pallet displays: Ready to sell merchandising units which require little or no setup or unpacking. They are particularly useful for creatively drawing attention to a product and can also function as a small in-store billboard. A pallet display presentation highlights products quickly to all store customers with attractive designs that are easy to see even at a distance, which makes it easier to get discovered.

  3. Free-standing displays: Ideal when shelf space is not already available for point of sale marketing. A free-standing display is perfect because it will extend shelf space. Placing them at the end of the aisle in high-traffic areas works well.

  4. Dump bins: This is a good option whenever a product doesn’t seem to work well on the shelf. It also allows you to increase the number of display items considerably.

  5. Point of sale wobblers: These are inexpensive options, yet exceptionally effective. Wobblers are signs placed on product displays or store shelves and help make product offerings pop out. They are useful to advertise discount messaging or other unique selling propositions that persuade buying decisions.

What makes POS Displays so effective?

Point of sale displays are a powerful tool for triggering a phenomenon known as problem recognition response in consumers. The products found in POS displays are usually not priority items while the consumer is shopping, and the displays provide a visual reminder that the consumer may need the product. That then cascades into several benefits for the brand:

1. Encourage a purchase

POS displays draw customers’ attention to products that they would not otherwise think of purchasing while they are in the store. These are items that the consumer may not even place on their shopping list, but when provided with a visual cue, they may realise they need the product or desire the pleasure or joy it brings. The customer is thus encouraged to make an impulse purchase because the product is prominently displayed at their last stop in the shop.

For instance, consider a father doing his weekly grocery run in the supermarket. He may have compiled a list of all the necessary items before making the trip to the store. With that singularity of purpose, he briskly walks through the aisles crossing items off his list. As he waits in line to pay for his shopping, he is exposed to rows of magazines, sweets, snacks and other items that will make him start to think about how he may delight his family when he gets home. He picks up his wife’s favourite magazines and a few snacks for his children, an impulse purchase that he had not planned for, of items he overlooked in-store on his initial run.

2. Reduce resistance to purchasing

There is extensive research that strongly suggests the human brain has a limited capacity for making a number of decisions in succession in a manner akin to a finite resource such as a battery. This phenomenon is known as decision fatigue and suggests that the brain’s ability to make decisions deteriorates with the number of decisions as it gets fatigued over time. Decision fatigue in consumers disinhibits them from purchasing items they may not ordinarily buy, which helps grow sales.

As consumers enter the store, they are at their most alert and will exercise the greatest degree of discipline in the early stages of their shopping experience. The longer they spend in the store and have to decide the quantity and brand of the products they are purchasing, the lower their decision-making reserves become. By the time they arrive at the checkout point, their discipline is at its lowest, and they become significantly more susceptible to making impulsive purchases. The choice to get the instant gratification of purchasing attractive and cheaply priced small items is easier to make at this point than the option not to buy something that is not particularly necessary.

3. Spotlights products that may not sell well in other parts of the store

The small convenience items that are usually found at the point of sale may not sell very well in other parts of the store for a variety of reasons. Some products may not be items that consumers put on their lists so they may overlook them. Other things seem like frivolous expenses when a customer is still crossing items off a list of necessities.

The POS displays draw attention to these items and make them more attractive to the consumer without having to compete for attention with other goods that may be of more significant value to the consumer such as bath soap and laundry detergent. POS displays can also be creatively branded and can be promoted with campaigns like “buy one get one free” which helps the products stand out and appear more appealing to the consumer.

4. Increases brand awareness in context

Brand awareness and by extension, brand recognition, are functions of exposure over time. For most of their retail experience, consumers are always moving and looking for the things they know and want. They may see other brands on the shelves, but they will hardly register them because they are only looking for what they intend to buy or with which they are already familiar.

In most supermarkets and retail stores, customers will briefly wait in a queue at the checkout counter. Creatively branded POS displays positioned where they are in full view of the waiting customer will draw their attention and function as a small billboard. The consumer will become familiar with the product, brand colours, logo and tagline. In some cases, the design of the POS display can even describe the product’s value proposition and why it is the superior choice in the market.

5. Cost-effective marketing channel

Advertising and marketing channels are quite pricey, particularly in locations or mediums that are exposed to high traffic volumes. Brands need to keep their marketing expenses as low as possible while getting as much impact as they can, and typically there has to be a tradeoff between impact and cost.

POS displays offer brands the opportunity to get their message in front of high volumes of people in a high-value location for a very low cost. Since they serve multiple purposes as product holders and marketing mediums, they not only pay for themselves several times over, they are also very cheap to place. Brands can make use of their POS displays as small and intimate billboards that have the additional benefit of being able to convey significantly more information than a traditional billboard and hold viewer attention for much longer. They also have the added advantage of being positioned where a more relevant and targeted audience will see them, who are then more likely to purchase the product.


Point of Sale displays are an indispensable weapon in any retail marketing arsenal. They are strategically positioned to leverage all the available advantages in a retail environment to help your brand grow its sales, awareness and recognition for a minimal cost. They have proven to be a simple, effective and reliable way to get more consumers to purchase products they would otherwise avoid or buy with some hesitation.

Are you working on a retail marketing plan? If you would like assistance with the execution, do feel free to get in touch with us, we would be happy to help your brand grow.

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