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Point of Purchase Displays definition

Point of Purchase Displays (© DigiClack /

Point of Purchase Displays (© DigiClack /

Point of Purchase Displays make great use of buyer psychology in order to help overcome barriers to sale’ and maximize the profits you can make from a customer. This can work both in a physical store and online. A point of purchase display is any kind of point of sale material – often a display or a special offer placed right at the checkout or the terminal point of a website.

Designing the layout of your shop and store well can greatly improve the sales of your item and could be seen as the key to success as a store keeper. For example, this can mean

  • organizing the store so that customers have to walk through the displays to get to the till
  • or to get to the stairs if you’re on a second floor (putting the up and down escalators on opposite sides of the room is a neat trick),
  • displaying discounts and promotional material by the door to lure people in
  • and organizing things logically so that they can find their way around.
openPR tip: All these things can mean the difference between someone ‘poking their head in’ and leaving, or noticing something that catches their eye and making a purchase (of course you also have to actually sell high quality products).

Another aspect of shop design that most stores use to varying degrees is the point of sale display material. This refers to promotional material that is kept at the ‘point of sale’ that meaning the counter or till where the customer will have to take any other items they wish to buy. The reason this works so well is that they literally already have their money out, they might be avoiding lots of small change and they can then make an ‘impulse’ buy if they see something here that they find at least partly appealing.

At the same time, making the material available from where customers queue for the checkout can work very well as they’ll get bored while waiting and use the opportunity to look around. This means they’re more likely to notice displays that they wouldn’t otherwise and pick up things that they find mildly interesting to learn more. Again, it’s a great time to try and encourage impulse buys then or at least to attract their attention to something.

Using point of sale material is a great way to secure extra sales then, but knowing how to use the technique correctly is essential if you want it to be a success.

First of all, you must ensure that the items you display near the counter are

  • either good deals,
  • some kind of promotion,
  • or cheap to start with.

While it may not seem important, the first reason for this is actually that it gives you an ‘excuse’ to display the products there, and without an excuse customers will view it as ‘random’ and pointless (the psychology of the customer is very important to understand when designing the shop).

You also need to bear in mind that if the customer is queuing for the till then in their mind they have finished shopping and are happy with what they have. At this point you’re unlikely to sell them a plasma TV, but you might be able to sell them

  • some sweets
  • or something on offer, which is why these products need to be cheap enough to count as ‘impulse’ buys.

Making sure the actual display material itself is

  • eye catching
  • and well designed is also obviously critical,
  • and purchasing stands for magazines and DVDs that can display more than one in an eye-catching way,
  • or cardboard cut outs to promote various new releases can do wonders for those items.

Layouts for Ecommerce Stores

But it’s not just the highstreet stores that need to think about their customer psychology in this way!

If you look at a brick and mortar high street store, something interesting you may notice is the way they lay out their items. As we’ve discussed, everything in that store has been

  • carefully placed and thought out
  • in order to have the maximum impact on the visitor
  • and to encourage them to buy.

This is also why your local grocery store keeps changing the layout of the place – they’re doing it to ensure

  • that you have to search around to find things –
  • thereby coming across more items that you might want to buy.

They also think about the ‘journey’ you take through the store. What is it that draws the customers in? And where should they place the items to make them the most appealing and most likely to get purchased?

But what if you have a digital store? An eCommerce store? How can you accomplish the same thing and encourage people to want to buy?


One trick you should use is ‘contrast’. Contrast means placing two items next to each other that are very similar but different in terms of price.

This works because it helps the shopper to talk themselves into buying. For example, they might decide that they’re going to buy the cheaper item even though they feel guilty about spending the money. They can justify this action by saying ‘well at least I bought the cheap option!’. At the same time, it will feel like a better deal.

Conversely though, if someone is thinking of buying the cheap version, they may be tempted to upgrade to the most premium model for a little more money. Just by placing these items next to each other then, you can increase the likelihood of two types of customers spending more in your store.


Remember, POS is essentially the point at which your customer is about to buy something from you. In other words, this is the checkout page where all that is left to do is for them to enter their details and click ‘buy’. That doesn’t mean they have to be physically standing by a till!

At this point, your customer has already committed to buy and already over come their own objections. Thus, they are much more likely now to slightly upgrade their order with something small. Place extra offers here and you can potentially upsell to the customer and thus earn more money.

Just as in a real store, the ecommerce store can also benefit from this strategy!

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