ClickCease Point of Sale Advertising: 7 Strategies for Success

Point of Sale Advertising: 7 Proven Strategies to Boost Your Bottom Line


Point of sale advertising

Introduction to Point of Sale Advertising

Ever found yourself at the grocery store, ready to check out, and suddenly a pack of gum, a magazine, or some cool sunglasses catch your eye? Guess what – you’ve been hit with point of sale advertising!

It’s like they knew you were a sucker for minty freshness or celebrity gossip. But really, there’s a lot more to it.

What is Point of Sale Advertising?

Point of Sale (POS) advertising is a marketing strategy promoting products right where the financial transaction occurs. This could be a physical checkout counter in a retail store or the final steps of an online shopping journey. The goal is to catch your attention when you’re about to pay and subtly suggest, “Hey, why don’t you add this to your purchase?”

But how does it all happen?

You’ve been wandering around your favorite store, your shopping cart is brimming with the items you need (and a few you probably don’t, but who’s judging?), and you’re ready to head home. As you approach the checkout counter, a colorful display of chocolate catches your eye. Or maybe it’s a neatly stacked pile of magazines featuring the latest trending topics. Or perhaps it’s a small, innovative gadget that promises to make your life easier.

This, my friend, is POS advertising in action!

These strategically placed products attempt to woo you into making a last-minute, spontaneous purchase. It’s a nudge to buy something extra, something you hadn’t planned on but suddenly seems appealing.

The checkout counter a critical spot!

The checkout line is a place of waiting. It’s a moment when consumers are idle, have nothing to do, and are likely to browse around. This makes it the perfect moment to catch their attention and promote a quick add-on to their purchase.

And it’s not just physical stores; online retailers do it too. Have you ever noticed those product recommendations before you hit the ‘buy now’ button? That’s the digital version of POS advertising.

In a nutshell, POS advertising is a potent tool designed to maximize retail value from each customer by encouraging impulse purchases. It leverages the power of convenience, placement, and consumer psychology to create a win-win situation – more sales for the store and an extra treat for you!

What is the Psychology Behind the Point of Sale Advertising?

Alright, let’s dive into the mystery that is the human mind.

The effectiveness of point of sale advertising isn’t just down to the location or the flashy product displays—it’s also all about psychology! But don’t worry, we’re not talking about Sigmund Freud here, just some basic principles that play into our purchasing decisions.

First off, let’s discuss the ‘impulse buy.’

The concept might not be new to you; it’s the unplanned decision to buy a product just before purchase. We’ve all been there. But have you ever stopped to think why? What triggers that impulsive behavior?

This is where the psychology behind POS advertising comes into play. The idea is to tap into your impulse buying behavior at the exact moment when you’re ready to make a purchase. This works because, at this moment, your mental defenses are down—you’re focused on completing the transaction and are more susceptible to making additional unplanned purchases.

Next, consider how human beings are visual creatures.

We’re wired to respond to visual stimuli, and this is something POS advertising exploits. Displays at checkout counters are often colorful, appealing, and placed at eye level, capturing our attention and engaging our interest. Coupled with our natural curiosity, this visual attraction makes us more likely to pick up an additional item.

Ever wondered why you find it hard to resist a good deal or a discount? It’s due to what psychologists call the ‘Fear of Missing Out‘ or FOMO. When we see a limited-time offer or an exclusive discount at the checkout, our FOMO kicks in, compelling us to take advantage of the offer before it’s too late.

Another key psychological principle is the ‘pleasure principle.’

This is the instinctive drive to seek pleasure and avoid pain. By strategically placing products that promise immediate gratification, like chocolates or magazines, POS advertising leverages this principle, tempting us to give in to the promise of immediate pleasure.

Then, there’s the ‘scarcity principle.’

Ever noticed how products at the checkout are often in limited quantities? This is to create a sense of urgency. We’re more likely to buy something if we think it’s scarce or about to run out.

Lastly, POS advertising takes advantage of social proof—the idea that we’re more likely to do something if we see others doing it. That’s why you’ll often find best-selling books, popular snacks, or trendy accessories at the checkout.

Point of Sale vs. Point of Purchase Advertising

They might seem similar, but there are important distinctions to keep in mind.

Point of Sale Advertising

We’ve already talked a lot about this one. As a quick reminder, POS advertising refers to promotional strategies that focus on the location where a customer completes a transaction – the point where they hand over the cash or card. In brick-and-mortar stores, this is typically the checkout counter. Online, it’s the final stages of the checkout process right before you click that ‘complete purchase’ button.

POS advertising is all about harnessing the power of last-minute impulse buying.

Point of Purchase Advertising

Now, let’s talk about POP advertising. It’s slightly broader in scope. While POS advertising is confined to the specific location of the transaction, POP advertising encompasses any promotional efforts within the entire store, physical or online, that aim to influence your purchasing decisions. It’s not just about last-minute add-ons but about influencing your shopping journey from the moment you step into the store or land on the website.

POP can be as straightforward as in-store signage drawing your attention to a sale or as high-tech as interactive displays allowing you to try out products. Online, it could be those persuasive product recommendations that pop up as you browse or customer reviews and ratings that give you confidence in your purchase.

Making Sense of It All

So, how can we understand these two types of advertising in relation to each other? It might help to think of POS as a subset of POP advertising. While POS strategies focus narrowly on that final moment of decision-making at the checkout, POP encompasses a broader range of tactics designed to influence your purchase decisions throughout your shopping experience.

The takeaway here? Both types of advertising are critical to an effective retail strategy. POP grabs your attention and influences your buying decisions throughout your shopping journey, while POS swoops in at the end to encourage those spontaneous, last-minute purchases.

Who Implements Point of Sale Advertising?

Now that we’re well-versed in what POS advertising is and its psychology let’s dive into who exactly is behind these tactical decisions.

In the broadest terms, two major parties are involved: the retailers and the brands.


The story begins with the brands. These are the companies that create and market the products we end up buying. Brands often develop their own POS advertising materials to promote their products. This could be anything from designing eye-catching product packaging to creating elaborate display stands for their products.

Brands are also the ones who typically offer special promotions or discounts to incentivize purchases. Ever notice those “Buy 2, Get 1 Free” offers or “20% off” stickers on certain products? That’s the work of the brand, aiming to increase the sales of their products.


Then there are the retailers. These are the folks who own the physical or digital spaces where the transactions take place. They are supermarkets, boutiques, e-commerce websites, and other outlets where we shop.

Retailers are key players in POS advertising as they control the space where these strategies are implemented. They decide where and how the brand’s advertising materials are displayed in their stores. They analyze customer behavior and traffic patterns to strategically place products and promotional materials for maximum impact.

For example, if a retailer notices that a particular aisle attracts a lot of customer traffic, they might place a brand’s promotional display there to increase visibility. They also manage the checkout areas where those last-minute impulse purchases happen.

Collaborative Efforts

Implementing POS advertising often involves a partnership between brands and retailers. The brands provide promotional materials, and the retailers provide optimal placement within their stores. This collaboration allows for the most effective execution of POS advertising strategies.

Moreover, brands and retailers increasingly utilize data analytics to optimize their POS advertising efforts. This involves analyzing customer shopping behavior, product performance, and other relevant data to make informed decisions about where to place products, what offers to run, and how to design the most compelling displays.

7 Effective Point of Sale Advertising Tactics and Examples

Now that we’ve tackled the ‘what,’ ‘why,’ and ‘who’ of POS advertising, it’s time for the fun part – the ‘how!’ Let’s dig into seven effective POS advertising tactics and examples that have proven to hit the mark.

1. Eye-Catching Displays

Humans are visual creatures, and attractive displays can turn heads and attract customers. The vibrant pyramid of soda cans, the neatly arranged stack of books, and the tempting display of chocolates at the checkout are all strategic and designed to draw your attention. These visual cues can spark interest and evoke emotions that influence purchase decisions.

Example: Lush Cosmetics

Lush Cosmetics is famous for its bold, vibrant in-store displays. Bath bombs are piled high in produce-style displays, and the colorful array of products is often the first thing customers see as they walk into the store. It’s visually appealing, engaging, and encourages hands-on exploration of their products.

Lush cosmetics

2. Strategic Product Placement

Location, location, location – it’s not just for real estate! Strategic product placement at high-traffic areas and checkout counters can make a big difference. These locations give products maximum visibility and increase the likelihood of impulse purchases.

Example: IKEA

IKEA is a master of strategic product placement. Its showroom layout guides customers along a predetermined path through various home setups. Along this path, small, inexpensive products (like candles or napkins) are placed within easy reach for spontaneous add-ons to the shopping cart.


3. Limited-Time Offers

Creating a sense of urgency with limited-time offers can motivate customers to buy a product. These promotions give customers the feeling that they’re getting a special deal, and the time limit encourages immediate action.

Example: Starbucks

Starbucks excels at creating a sense of urgency with its limited-time offers. Their seasonal drinks like the Pumpkin Spice Latte or the Peppermint Mocha, available only for a short period each year, generate buzz and drive customers to make purchases before the offer ends.


4. Bundling

Bundling involves selling multiple products together for a lower price than if bought separately. It offers customers value and can help businesses move more products.

Example: Microsoft

Microsoft often bundles its software products together, offering packages like Office 365 suite, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more, for a lower price than buying each software individually. This value proposition encourages customers to purchase the bundle.

POS Advertising Microsoft

5. Sampling or Trials

Letting customers try before they buy can boost sales. Samples or trials reduce the perceived risk of purchasing a new product and can create a sense of reciprocity, making customers more likely to purchase.

Example: Sephora

Sephora, a leading beauty retailer, has a successful sampling strategy. In their stores, customers are encouraged to try makeup and skincare products with the help of store associates. Online, Sephora offers free samples with every purchase, allowing customers to try new products risk-free. This strategy not only helps customers find products that work for them but also introduces them to items they might not have otherwise considered.

Point of Sale Advertising Sephora

6. Cross-Selling

This involves promoting related or complementary products. Cross-selling can encourage customers to spend more by showcasing additional items that enhance the value or use of their main purchase.

Example: Amazon

Amazon’s online platform is expertly designed for cross-selling. When you view a product, you’ll often see a “Customers who bought this also bought…” section, showcasing related or complementary products to encourage additional purchases.


7. Upselling

Upselling involves promoting a more expensive item or upgrading the item the customer plans to buy. It’s a strategy to increase the value of the customer’s purchase.

Example: Apple

Apple uses upselling tactics when they launch new versions of its products. When customers consider a purchase, Apple highlights the features of the newer, more expensive models, promoting the benefits of upgrading.

Apple Point of Sale Advertising

Each of these tactics is a tool in the POS advertising toolkit, and brands and retailers often use them in combination to effectively promote products and entice customers. Remember, the ultimate goal is to create a win-win situation – a good deal for the customer and a sale for the business. So, next time you’re out shopping, keep an eye out for these tactics in action!

What’s Next?

Planning, measuring and reporting on advertising campaigns both online and offline is important for the success of your campaigns. Now, you might wonder, “How can I effectively plan, measure, and report on my campaigns?” Well, that’s where our media management platform – Mediatool comes into the picture!

Mediatool is designed to help you manage your advertising campaigns from start to finish. It lets you plan campaigns, track results, and generate comprehensive reports. It’s like having a personal assistant for your advertising efforts – especially now since we’ve just launched our new AI Assistant.

Take a tour of Mediatool today!

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