How to Create Point-of-Purchase Displays That Increase Retail Sales

Published: July 8, 2022, Last Updated: February 2, 2024

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Writer: Martha Pierson
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Point-of-purchase (POP) displays are a marketing technique used to draw shoppers’ attention to specific items in a store. They can be made from any solid material and placed in high-traffic areas of the store, including at the cash register or in-between aisles. POP displays can be temporary (freestanding displays or dump bins), semi-permanent, and permanent (vendor shops). POP displays can help increase retail sales since they bring extra visibility to specific products, highlight promotions, and trigger impulse buys.

Close up on makeup display

Creatively packaged products may have a higher chance of capturing customers’ attention, but they can easily blend in with other competitors on a retail store shelf. However, point-of-purchase displays can help certain products stand above the rest and incentivize customers to purchase them.

Point-of-purchase (or POP) displays can take any shape and form. In most cases, they are temporarily assembled cardboard or metal stands that hold products of one or more brands. Eye-catching signage that sticks out from the aisle is also a popular display option that retailers use to boost sales.

This blog will explore point-of-purchase displays and how to create effective displays to increase retail sales.

What Are Point-of-Purchase Displays?

Point-of-purchase displays are a marketing strategy used by retailers to promote specific products and increase sales. Unlike marketing campaigns designed to attract customers to the store, POP displays are meant to influence buying decisions once customers are already in the store.

These displays can be anything from simple signs to big cartons between aisles. A popular point-of-purchase display example is shelf-talkers — large signs that stick out from an aisle and invite the customer’s attention to that area. Another example is a freestanding display, a separate shelf filled with particular products and placed anywhere in the store.

Retailers usually place POP displays in strategic locations around the store to capture the attention of buyers. Historically, POP displays were located next to the cash desk to impact last-minute purchases before customers check out. However, nowadays, retailers have realized that they can successfully use this technique in other parts of the store, too, like the end of an aisle and between aisles.


The terms point-of-purchase (POP) and point-of-sale (POS) are sometimes used interchangeably, but they actually mean two different things.

POP is a specific location in a brick-and-mortar store where the customer decides to purchase something. These can be anywhere around the store. For example, a customer sees a cereal box in an aisle and puts it in their shopping cart or basket. This exact place of the aisle is then the point-of-purchase.

Conversely, POS refers to the particular place where the customer gives money to purchase the cereal box. For example, in a brick-and-mortar store, the checkout desk or the cash register is usually a point-of-sale.

In some cases, the point-of-purchase and point-of-sale location can overlap. This is usually achieved through point-of-sale advertising, which is a technique that encourages consumers to buy additional items at the selling point. For example, customers may find a shelf of hair clips next to the cash register at a cosmetics store. The shelf serves as both a POP and POS because the customer decides to purchase the hair clip and immediately pays for it.

Types of Point-of-Purchase Displays

Point-of-purchase displays can be separated into three main categories: temporary, semi-permanent, and permanent displays.

Temporary POP Displays

Temporary displays are the most common type of POP advertising used in retail stores. They are usually made from cardboard and stay up for a few weeks. Retailers typically use temporary stands to promote seasonal products or products on sale. For example, you may see temporary displays in the middle of the store with clothes at a 50% discount.

Semi-permanent POP Displays

Semi-permanent displays, also known as off-shelf displays, are typically made of glass, metal, or wood and stay up for three months to a year. These displays are usually more voluminous than temporary displays and contain more product types. For example, semi-permanent displays are widely used to promote confectionery products. You may see separate durable wood stands with KitKat or Ferrero Rocher next to a specific aisle.

Sometimes, you can also witness a whole section dedicated to a specific brand or product range inside the retail store. For example, LA-based Segara Swim hosted two successful pop-up events at Cuyana, an apparel store, where they designed a separate corner for their brand.

Permanent POP Displays

A less common form of POP displays, permanent displays are meant to stay up for a few years. These are usually made of hard materials, such as glass, metal, or plastic. Permanent displays are typically utilized by large retailers that want to push a specific product range for a long time. For instance, retailers can place a glass display of some alcoholic beverages at the end of an aisle to draw shoppers’ attention to those products.

Who Uses POP Displays?

Point-of-purchase marketing techniques are used in many different industries. Even though our article focuses on the retail sector, here is a list of businesses that implement POP displays the most:

  • Retailers. Both large and small retailers utilize the POP approach to cater specific products to their customers. In large retailers like Walmart, you may observe four-sided POP displays placed every 10 to 20 feet under the main aisles. These displays may contain books, clearance items, beverages, and clothing. You can also spot POP displays in smaller stores like local supermarkets or convenience stores.
  • Banks. Banks use point-of-sale displays to shed light on some of their new products or promotions. For example, banks may utilize banners to mention the benefits of a loan or promote credit cards.
  • Restaurants. Restaurants and other food service establishments use POP displays to inform customers about seasonal drinks or meals of the day.
  • Auto dealers. Car dealers usually place displays in the middle of the showroom, which contain information about cars on sale or financing and buy now pay later options.
  • Furniture stores. Point-of-purchase displays are common in furniture stores mainly because of their large space. For instance, furniture is advertised at a discount or with free delivery and installation.

Tips for Creating Successful Point-of-Purchase Displays

Point-of-purchase marketing can help increase your sales if you use your space efficiently. As soon as customers enter, you can guide them through the store using strategically placed POP displays. Here are some tips you can use to make the most of your POP marketing.

Turn the Checkout Line into a Shopping Experience

Checkout lines can be tiring and time-consuming for many, but you can turn them into an extended shopping experience. Install POP displays on the sides of the line to get customers interested and purchase more items while waiting in line. Retailers put small items, such as candies, gum, or drinks, that trigger impulse purchases. These include those purchases that the customer hasn’t planned or didn’t think to make.

Provide Samples or Demos on Your Sales Floor

Demonstrating the usefulness of products can influence consumer buying behavior and boost sales. Don’t limit your POP practices only around the checkout line. Placing point-of-purchase displays between aisles can garner attention, but you can also employ someone who would invite customers to try free samples or use the products themselves.

If you want to offer food or beverage samples, you can organize taste tests to let consumers try before they buy. For other products, you can organize free demos to let customers see them in action. For example, BestBuy has placed PlayStation and Xbox booths in the middle of the sales floor and lets buyers play as much as they want for free.

Utilize Cross-Selling

Retailers use cross-selling to incentivize shoppers to buy add-on items that complement products they’ve already purchased. Point-of-purchase displays are a practical tool to leverage cross-selling. For instance, if you sell digital cameras in a particular area of your retail store, you can locate displays of lens cleaners or camera cases next to the shelves. If a buyer specifically came to purchase a camera, this can encourage them to buy these add-on accessories that they didn’t plan to buy initially.

Create Pop-Up Shops for Specific Product Lines

Pop-up shops are temporary sections in a retail store designed to showcase a specific brand or product line. These displays stand out among other products due to a different design in layout and product placements. Customers may not have come to purchase these products, but pop-up shops can increase their curiosity to buy these items. For instance, toy stores may assemble a pop-up display of Lego products in a corner to promote the sales of their Lego products. Pop-up stores can also highlight holiday or seasonal products like Christmas decorations or Halloween costumes.

Point-of-Purchase Display Examples

Now that you know what a point-of-purchase display is and how you could use it to improve sales, let’s look at the most popular display examples used by retailers.

Freestanding Displays

Freestanding displays are used for temporary POP practices and are easy to move around or dismantle. They are flexible and offer many opportunities for different product placements. Retailers usually locate these displays in high-traffic areas where most customers typically pass through.

Because of their low assembly costs, these display options can be designed any way you like them. Many retailers create stands that mirror the original packaging of the products displayed. For example, you can see a giant cardboard milk box installed containing multiple shelves of different dairy products.

Dump Bins

Dump bins are typically used to showcase smaller products that customers can grab and add to their carts. They are also usually used for temporary promotions because they are constructed from cardboard or plastic. For instance, you can find dump bins filled with candies under the aisles or even small accessories next to the checkout lines at clothing stores. Dump bins usually contain single or multiple products stuffed together in a box, but you can also get creative with their design and location.

Shelf Talkers

These POP displays are most typically signages that stick out from the aisles to give more visibility to the products on the shelves. Shelf talkers can be in any size and form, from small arrows to large banners running from the aisle’s top to the bottom. You can put any information you find attractive on the displays, such as the ingredients, current sales, or simply the brand logo.

Vendor Shops

Vendor shops or pop-up stores involve a separate section for a specific brand or product line. They are usually used for semi-permanent or permanent installations as they require more expensive resources and design. A Barbie section at a toy store or a Pokemon section at Target are examples of vendor shops.

Floor Graphics

Many retailers also use the floor as point-of-purchase displays. You can apply creativity to create attention-grabbing POP displays on the floor of your store. For example, some retailers have installed floor panels to measure your shoe size and see which model suits you best.

The Benefits of Point-of-Purchase Displays

Most retailers now use point-of-purchase displays because they can lead to higher sales. But let’s see some other benefits of utilizing point-of-purchase displays in retail:

  • Low cost, high reward. Temporary displays are relatively inexpensive to install. You can expect to pay around $100 for large freestanding displays that hold more than 100 products. Moreover, they’re easy to dismantle and construct again and can be used for several years.
  • Extra visibility for products. Most buyers skim through the aisles to choose from a variety of options. Point-of-purchase displays can help consumers try new products by presenting the goods in an appealing manner.
  • Highlight promotions. Products on sale need to be advertised and differentiated from other products. Point-of-purchase displays are a great way to let customers know about ongoing promotions at your store and entice them to purchase those products.
  • Educating shoppers. POP displays can provide additional information to help consumers visualize their usefulness. For example, demonstrating kitchen items, such as self-sharpening knives and nonstick pans, can encourage customers to purchase an item they find practical or convenient.
  • Targeting impulsive buyers. Some shoppers enter retail stores without any specific goals. As a result, they may be more inclined to purchase products that grab their attention. You can trigger an impulse purchase through POP marketing and easily persuade customers to try new products.
  • Product placement flexibility. Finally, POP displays offer an opportunity for specific brands to practice flexible and easy product placement. Instead of blending in with other competitors on a shelf, retailers can draw buyers’ attention to specific products by placing them separately in high-traffic areas of the store.


Point-of-purchase displays are an advertising strategy that brings certain products to the spotlight. They typically include freestanding displays, aisle fixtures, or separate sections inside a retail store. Utilizing POP displays can help you highlight promotions and new collections and persuade customers to purchase more products. They can play a key factor in increasing your retail sales, so go ahead and implement them starting today!

Martha Pierson

Content CreatorMartha Pierson is a marketing strategist and business development expert based in Glendale, California. As a content creator for the Finturf blog, Martha shares her vast knowledge and experience with readers to help them build and sustain successful businesses. Her articles offer practical tips and actionable advice that entrepreneurs can implement immediately to achieve their goals. Martha also provides insightful analysis of current trends across different industries and offers expert guidance on how businesses can adapt to changing market conditions.

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