POS vs. POP displays – What’s The Difference?

Clients often ask us about the differences between point-of-purchase (POP) and point-of-sale (POS) displays. And it’s true that both are types of retail graphics and print-based sales promotions, commonly used to display and promote special offers and new or sometimes end-of-line items. So it’s understandable that they’re frequently confused. But each has its own role and placement within a store or other setting, and so there are some key differences between the two.

While these two tools are mainly found in retail environments, they’re also used in some hospitality settings, such as hotels and spas, fast-food bars or cafes, as well as exhibitions and similar events.

Here at Rocket Graphics, we produce and install both POP and POS displays as retail graphics and in other settings. So we’re well placed to discuss these effective, useful marketing tools.

What is a POP display?

A POP or point-of-purchase display is typically placed at points in the store where  a customer is considering buying a product, but before they make the decision and place the item in their basket.

The location of a POP display can be anywhere in-store, and they’re often placed apart from similar products, which helps those items on POP displays to stand out. Additionally, you’ll usually see them in high-traffic areas.

At the same time, they can take many forms, from an (often branded) freestanding display unit to a branded shelf or end-of-aisle cap.

They are used across different retail sectors, from supermarkets to fashion, home furnishings and more.

Some examples of different types of POP displays

  • Freestanding displays: These can be really attention-grabbing, with great room for creativity in terms of the shapes and designs you use.
  • Floor graphics: These POPs are usually placed directly in front of the shelves bearing the promoted product, so customers can find it easily.
  • Dump bins: These can store smaller items such as packets of sweets or small toys, which customers tend to pick up when browsing between the aisles.
  • Product dispensers: These difficult-to-ignore displays allow for the storage of small product volumes so they look appealing.
  • Interactive displays: Again, most of us find screen tricky to ignore. And these are similar to LCD or motion displays.
  • End caps: These can be very powerful at grabbing attention, and they go at the end of an aisle where two of them sit back to back.
  • Shelf talkers: Often made of cardboard or plastic, these are found on the shelves where retailers sell their products.
  • Vendor shops: These are best described as a pop-up shop within a shop, and are established to promote a retailer’s products or just a single item. They’re increasingly popular, and can be pretty powerful.

Benefits of POP displays

There are numerous advantages to using POP displays in your retail store:

  • Eye-catching: These displays are typically branded to catch the consumer’s eye, helping them to notice products and promotions which they may not otherwise see. They also help brands and products to differentiate themselves from the competition.
  • Boosts impulse purchasing: With customers generally making most of their buying decisions in-store, POP displays are well able to increase impulse purchasing. They help give specific products exposure and promotion, encouraging customers to grab the items even if they’re not what they had planned on buying on entering the store.
  • Versatile: POP displays can be permanent, semi-permanent or temporary. And, if not integrated within the store’s fabric, they can also be moved around your premises, making them even more versatile.
  • Ideal for seasonal promotions: These marketing tools can also be used for seasonal promos, for example during Halloween, Christmas or anything else, when you want maximum attention for a limited time.
  • Affordable marketing solutions: POP displays not only provide a good way of promoting products, but they’re also highly affordable, helping to give key products prominent in-store exposure.

What is a POS display?

A point-of-sale display is similar to the POP version, but typically goes at or very close to the checkout – in other words, where the sale actually takes place.

Again, a point-of-sale (POS) display is a physical promotional display tool which focuses on impulse buys. That means it’s generally reserved for smaller or lower-value items, from soft drinks and sweets to small chocolate bars or hand gel in a supermarket setting, or accessories or something like face wipes in a fashion store.

POS displays can be freestanding or placed on top of the checkout area, optimising space which would otherwise not be used.

Benefits of POS displays

These specialised marketing tools offer many benefits, including:

  • Visibility: Because they go at the checkout, most customers making a purchase won’t be able to avoid seeing the products, so they’re a great way to increase in-store visibility.
  • Encourages impulse purchasing: Similarly to POP displays, POS versions encourage impulse purchasing just before a purchase takes place. These solutions are more likely to influence quick decision-making on smaller, lower-value items which people notice as they queue at the checkout, as mentioned above, and which they don’t have to spend much time thinking about before deciding whether to buy them.
  • A great branding tool: Similar to POP displays, again they’re an excellent, cost-effective branding tool, helping to increase product exposure and promote specific items.
  • Increasing in-store spend: POS displays are really effective when it comes to encouraging upselling and increasing customers’ in-store spend. They might be items a customer wouldn’t necessarily have gone to the shop for, but which complement other things they’ve bought, or in the case of a supermarket, might be something that takes their fancy as a treat.

Key differences between POP and POS displays

Both tools are effective at increasing impulse purchases in-store and at marketing new brands, product lines or promotions. Nonetheless, there are some significant differences between the two:

  • POP displays are placed in high-traffic areas, aimed at customers browsing the store, while POS displays are placed at the point of sale, i.e. checkout areas, and target customers about to complete their purchase.
  • POP displays usually take up floor space within the retailer, while POS displays are smaller.
  • POS displays typically promote smaller, lower-value items, whilst POP displays can feature bigger items, or a greater variety of them.

Looking for Branded POS or POP Displays?

At Rocket Graphics, we specialise in retail graphics and large-format printing and produce and install all types of this kind of branding from our printing facility in Watford. We supply high-quality POP and POS displays for all settings, from retail outlets to exhibitions and events. Contact the team today for an informal chat about what you need.