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How to Win with Great Point-of-Purchase (POP) Marketing

POP marketing is some of the most important marketing out there and can really boost your sales.

When you think back to the last time you visited a physical retail location, do you remember seeing any eye-catching signs or flashy promotional tags or standing cardboard cutouts used to promote one of the store’s products? After seeing the promotional collateral, did you end up purchasing an item even though it wasn’t on your original shopping list?

If so, you’ve been a successful target of point-of-purchase (POP) marketing. All of us have been at one time or another, as it’s so universal and well done that it’s essentially become a standard component of the shopping experience.

Who uses point-of-purchase marketing?

Escalate your sales with POP marketingPOP marketing isn’t for everyone, as it is generally limited to brands that sell their products through brick-and-mortar retailers or the brick-and-mortar retailers themselves. The brands that benefit most from POP marketing are the ones that sell their items in locations physically near the point-of-sale (registers and checkout areas).

The following are a few examples of notable candidates who benefit from using POP marketing techniques:

  • Grocery stores – These are probably one of the first places you think of when you think of POP marketing. Each checkout lane is usually separated by merchandise-laden shelving filled with candy, gum, batteries and magazines. At the end of these merchandise shelves, there will typically be a small refrigerator stocked with various sodas. Items in these areas move at a rate 1.5 to 3 times as fast as the same product on a shelf elsewhere in the store.
  • Gas stations – These are very similar to grocery stores in brand selection, with the added selection of energy vitamins and beef jerky.
  • Fast-food restaurants – Usually display gift cards and dessert options at their POP to convince customers to add something on to their order. In dine-in restaurants where customers pay after they eat, the POP area is usually identical minus the dessert options.
  • Retail businesses – hardware stores, auto part stores, hobby stores and other similar places position their low-ticket items right around their checkout locations
  • Tobacco companies – while they are subject to significant legal regulations, advertisements and POP marketing collateral of tobacco companies are usually positioned right near the checkout.
  • Brands – any brand that sells their item at a brick-and-mortar retailer’s store can purchase display space around their POP area or they can even purchase digital "space" in the store’s point-of-sale software so all customers are forced to either confirm or deny that they will be upsold your product or service. In addition, some stores allow brands to purchase space on​ the back or bottom of customers' receipts. Brands can then fill this space with information pertinent to their product like recipes for food items or DIY projects for hardware products.
  • Nonprofit organizations – Nonprofit organizations can team up with various retailers and restaurants to allow customers to donate an additional amount of their purchase to their charity, and this can become a huge source of income to help them accomplish the good work they’re doing in the world. Adding in eye-catching printed cutouts or promotional material to advertise these programs is key to their success.

Why is POP marketing important?

point-of-purchase marketing examplesPrinted materials used in POP marketing are collectively one of the biggest emerging sectors in the printing industry. Whether they’re printed on paper, plastic, fabric or corrugated cardboard, these items are extremely important branding opportunities and they are instrumental in swaying the opinions of millions of shoppers every day.

In all types of stores, brands are competing with one another for the attention of passing shoppers. In theory, the brand with the most attractive visual display should sell the most since the shoppers will be drawn to it and pick it up instead of going with the relatively less attractive competitor items.

In addition to brands competing with one another, they’re also competing with brands from entirely different product categories, too. While supermarkets do their best to keep items together by category or possible usage, it’s impossible to design a store where one type of product is the sole focus all the way through.

For the shopping experience to be interesting, stores present them side by side as space allows. This is where this inter-product category competition comes from, and it’s important to realize this exists to ensure your point-of-purchase print collateral will outshine the rest, both within and outside of your products category.

What kind of customer is POP marketing for?

POP marketing focuses on low-ticket impulse items are targeted towards impulse buyers who aren’t loyal to any particular brand. While a brand shopper will typically choose their preferred brand of items from the normal shelf in the store, impulse shoppers choose a few low-ticket items off the shelves before choosing more low-ticket items as they pass through the checkout line.

These consumers are easily distracted by ​advertisements and the stereotypical types of marketing strategies that we associate with candy brands and magazine covers. While different brick-and-mortar stores have different customer bases, POP marketing in their checkout areas tend to have a universal appeal in their design and positioning.

While POP merchandise purchases are typically unplanned buys, they’re typically attractive to price-sensitive customers, presenting themselves as “deal” items, whether that means indicating that they’re “on sale” or “new in store” or “item of the week.”

What kind of POP marketing should I choose?

pos-marketingWhen it comes to selecting the final medium by which you will convey your POP marketing messages, there are several options to choose from. These include:

  • Counter Displays – these types of displays have to remain fairly small so they don’t break the line-of-sight between the clerk and the customer, but they provide more space than a simple shelf talker and can be more eye-catching as a result.
  • Floor Displays – these kinds of displays are commonly constructed from card stock or corrugated cardboard and often feature a bin filled with the product they’re trying to sell. These kinds of POP marketing tools need to take a few more things into consideration when designing such as structural integrity and floor space required so they will meet retailers’ requirements.
  • Shelf Talkers – these are some of the most affordable and most impactful options in POP marketing. They give you the biggest bang for your buck by providing optimal placement of your POP marketing message while doubling as a branding opportunity to gain visibility.
  • Posters – posters that go up in the front windows are some of the furthest out in the POP process, but they can help bring people in and keep your product in the top of their mind as they shop.
  • Videos and Digital Signage – videos are less common, but they can take a lot more work and not have as high of a payoff, so they’re not a common alternative. Digital signage is much more affordable than video, and it provides the opportunity for the brand to exhibit their product or offering right as the customer is going through the checkout payment process.
  • Checkout Process Suggestive Marketing – these options typically are verbal or digital and they could be as simple as having the clerk ask if the customer would like to join their rewards program or a portion of the digital payment process that exhibits an screen giving the customer the option to add your purchase on to the purchase they’re about to pay for.
    • In order for suggestive marketing initiatives to work, employees at your vendors' supermarkets or stores will need to be quickly briefed on how your brand should be marketed to customers.
    • In addition, employees of your vendors will need to know how to answer any quick questions a customer might have about your product at the register.
    • For these purposes, it's important to provide some sort of training brochure or manual on your brand so it will be represented well at the register. These types of publications can be sent along with any other marketing collateral you may be providing for vendors when you finalize a POP marketing plan with them.

One option that relies on both technology and printed design would be to add a QR code to your printed POP display. These will allow customers to scan your product to see if it's something they're interested in while they're on the go. Plus the link will be open in their browser if they're really in a rush, which means they will be reminded of your brand later in the day when they next look at their phone.

Popular POP Products at Conquest Graphics

At Conquest Graphics, we get orders to print POP marketing collateral all the time. There are a number of premium items we offer that double as POP marketing materials, and even if you can't find just the size or product you need, simply calling us or chatting with a support agent will get you the support you need.

Some popular products configured to be perfect POP collateral are:

  • Half-Fold Brochures - Printing a half fold brochure is one simple way to order your own shelf talker without having to call or chat in. Typically, a half-folded 12" x 9" brochure can have one half designated as the "taping half" and the other half will be the presentation space for the POP marketing message of your choosing.
    • When you order a shelf talker, or any POP print collateral, it's important to remember that these kinds of print pieces need to be durable and resilient to all the conditions it might face while on the shelves, at the checkout counter or wherever else POP marketing might place it. For that reason, we advise using at least a 14pt cardstock, UV coated for durability.
  • Tear-Away Coupon Pads - Typically mounted to a shelf or end display, tear-away coupon pads are a very popular item for providing the sense of urgency and value a product might need to get the attention of the impulsive shoppers who buy POP merchandise. Tear-away coupons can easily be made by ordering notepads or sticky notes, but instead of leaving space for people to write notes on the pages, simply include your coupon design. Every page is printed the same for these products, so it works perfectly as a tear-away coupon dispenser.
    • When it comes to choosing a size for tear-away coupon pads, be sure to consider the placement of your coupon pad in the store, as well as how you want the customer to use the coupon. If you want them to use it same-day, sizes like 5" x 3" make sense since they won't need to put them in their pocket if they're using it in store. If you want your customer to keep the coupon and come back and use it another day, keep the notepad smaller, or choose sticky notes.
  • Shelf Signs or Aisle Violators - these terms refer to those thick pieces of cardstock held in the clamps that clip to the shelves and allow the faces of the cardstock to serve as signage facing the customer as they progress down the aisle. For these, we recommend ordering from the postcard product page. These allow for you to get the paper thickness you need at a reasonable size for an aisle violator.
    • Sizes like 6" x 9" or 6" x 11" allow for optimal sizing and cost. Another option would be to print a small poster or a larger flyer somewhere around the measurements of 8" x 7".
    • These kinds of POP marketing products work just as well in salons or boutiques as they do in supermarkets or department stores.
    • These kinds of products can also be used as sign inserts, although you'll need to make sure you order a size that exactly matches the sign stands you or the end retail location has, which may require calling in to make sure we get all the details of your order exactly correct so you don't have to worry in the future.
  • Posters - One of the most obvious POP marketing options would be the poster, as they're practically the first thing that comes to mind when you think of POP marketing. Just like the posters at the front of grocery stores or on the walls of department stores we print for, your posters can be ordered quickly online without having to make a call or engage in a chat.

While the final format of your POP marketing relies heavily upon how much space you can negotiate taking up with the given retailer, there are almost always going to be a set of design and printing needs.

Whether you decide to go with a smaller counter display or a full sized floor display, it’s important to keep all of the details above in mind as you’re going about preparing your POP marketing tool. If you'd like to order any of the POP print marketing items described above from Conquest Graphics, feel free to use any of the following products to configure any of the products as described above:

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