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Point of Purchase Promotion Definition

Updated on December 27, 2014
heidithorne profile image

Heidi Thorne is an author and business speaker with over 25 years of experience in sales, marketing, advertising and public relations.

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What is Point of Purchase?

Quite literally, point of purchase is where an actual sales transaction is made. The "where" can be several different places depending on what is being sold and how the transaction is being completed. Point of purchase examples would include:

  • Checkout counter at a grocery store.
  • The salesperson's desk at a car dealer.
  • The checkout page on an ecommerce website.

Click here to see how the concept of "where" affects advertising choices.

These days, point of purchase can be online or offline.
These days, point of purchase can be online or offline. | Source

What is a Point of Purchase Promotion?

At these points in the sales process, customers are already in the buying mood or mode. So it makes it an ideal point to promote additional add-on and upsell sales that can spell additional revenues and profits for sellers. Therefore, a point of purchase promotion is one that solicits an impulse or additional sale where a transaction is actually be completed. In the above examples, types of point of purchase promotions and sales would include:

  • Candy and gum displays by the grocery store cash register.
  • A car salesperson asking the customer if they want to extend the vehicle's warranty or add optional accessories prior to finalizing the paperwork.
  • A webpage suggesting additional products or services that can be added to the virtual shopping cart prior to clicking the Pay Now button.

Click here to learn more about upselling.

POP Displays

Point of purchase promotions are often referred to as "POP," acronym for "point of purchase." POP displays promoting add-on or upsell sales may simply include signage for these additional items, services, warranties, etc. The display may include an inventory of products that can be purchased along with the primary sale.

POP displays of products for add-on sales are very common in retail. Because they must fit on or near a checkout counter, retail POP displays are generally small and feature physically small products. Lip balm, gum, batteries, snacks and candy are common items featured in these displays.

Express shipping is a common upsell service in online point of purchase promotions.
Express shipping is a common upsell service in online point of purchase promotions. | Source

The Virtual POP Display

You click the "Buy Now" button on an ecommerce site and think you'll be directed to enter your credit card or PayPal info. But wait, here's another page before you get there that says something like the following:

  • Did you want to add _______ to your cart before you check out?
  • Others who purchased ____ added (such-and-such item) to their order. Would you like to add one now?
  • You could double your order for only $_____ if you click "Yes" within the next 5 minutes.
  • Receive your order in 2 days with Express Shipping! Would you like to upgrade your shipping for an additional $_____?

You've just run into a virtual POP display. It's really no different than one encountered in a brick-and-mortar retail store. And because there are no physical limitations as with real counter space, the types and number of items that can be promoted is almost unlimited. The real limitation is selecting add-on items that have the greatest chance of being accepted by buyers who may have little patience when buying online.

Sellers have mere seconds to make point of purchase sales!
Sellers have mere seconds to make point of purchase sales! | Source

Keys to Effective Point of Purchase Promotions

Unlike standard marketing tactics, point of purchase promotions must do the following:

  • Provide a Compelling Reason to Buy Within Seconds and Limited Space. Usually this means that only one or a very few easily conveyed and understood benefits can be promoted. This is why there are graphic design and packaging professionals who specialize in POP because they understand the limitations and requirements. Elements such as color, logos and text need to be placed in a way that grabs attention. Using the same principles that apply to billboards can be effective. Click here to learn more about billboard mistakes to avoid.
  • Not Derail the Primary Purchase. If the add-on purchase takes too much thought or too many actions, it could delay or derail the primary purchase process. Keep it simple and relevant.
  • Be Easy to Purchase. Providing a simple way for customers to add an item or service to their orders helps keep the sale from getting overwhelming or distracted. In physical retail, the item should be an easy grab-and-go package that can be added to the rest of the items on the counter. On a virtual "counter," providing a click-to-add button makes it easy to add to the final purchase.

Disclaimer: Any examples used are for illustrative purposes only and do not suggest affiliation or endorsement. The author/publisher has used best efforts in preparation of this article. No representations or warranties for its contents, either expressed or implied, are offered or allowed and all parties disclaim any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for your particular purpose. The advice, strategies and recommendations presented herein may not be suitable for you, your situation or business. Consult with a professional adviser where and when appropriate. The author/publisher shall not be liable for any loss of profit or any other damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages. So by reading and using this information, you accept this risk.

© 2014 Heidi Thorne

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I was going to say I don't have to concern myself with this, but on second thought, my website is my point of purchase display, isn't it? Us writers never get a break!!!!!

      Happy New Year my friend.

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      No, billybuc, we never catch a break. :) But I hope you have some time to take a break over the coming New Years holiday week. Thanks for all your support in the past year. It means a lot. Cheers!

    • GiftsByDiana profile image

      Diana Burrell-Shipton 2 years ago from Hubbard, Ohio, USA

      Well done !

      Never enough time in the day to do what we need/want to get done.

      Oh well, off we go :)

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      True that, GiftsByDiana! Thanks for stopping by and Happy New Year!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      I'm a sucker for the RedBox point of purchase where they offer me 50 cents off if I rent another movie.

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      Hi again, FlourishAnyway! We all have our POP weakness. Must... not... buy... anything. Redbox is one of the most popular focal points at our local grocery store. So it's a 2nd POP op in addition to the POP at the checkout lines. Thanks for sharing Redbox which is a great example. Cheers!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 2 years ago from Wales

      Interesting and useful. Thanks for sharing.

      Eddy.

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      Hi Eddy! Glad you found it interesting. Thank you for your support this year. Happy New Year!

    • Iris Draak profile image

      Cristen Iris 2 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      I always find your articles interesting and relevant. I personally do not care for POP sales. Having said that, some of the most useful things I've purchased have been the result of that practice. Most recently it was my lovely metal business card holder. Like you said, they have to be relevant and easy and that POP sale was.

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      Hi Iris! Indeed, POP promotions can be distracting and overwhelming, especially when you're trying to concentrate on completing the main transaction. But as you note, it can be helpful for both customers and sellers. The real trick is making it seamless and easy. Thanks for ending your year here and all the best for a Happy & Successful New Year!

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Another great hub about marketing. Voted up. I'm thinking that our new feature here a related hub appears to the right of the hub that a person is reading is a POP upsell. While you're here, read this.

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      Hello Catherine! I think you're so right about the sidebar "read this related hub" is a great example of ePOP. Thanks for the kind comments. All the best to you for a Happy and Successful New Year!

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