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July 13, 2023
POS (Point of Sale) marketing is the product displays, promotions, and other advertising materials you encounter as a consumer at the checkout counter. The goal of this tactic is to increase sales by making the most of a customer’s final moments in the store, and it’s certainly effective—84% of shoppers have made impulse purchases, with 8 of every 10 impulse buys occurring in a physical store, according to Invesp.
Of course, POS marketing amounts to more than just encouraging small impulse purchases. Effective POS advertising can improve customer experience, foster loyalty, and encourage return visits that often lead to higher sales. As a vendor, you don’t want to miss out on this important transaction opportunity.
We often use POS to refer to point of sale devices, but in a discussion of POS marketing, the term often refers more broadly to the whole environment in which a sale takes place—the checkout aisle is the most familiar example.
You certainly should make sure you’re using your checkout or ordering area effectively—and we’ll provide some tips on that, too—but it’s critical to remember that your POS device is a powerful tool for driving sales. Chances are that you’re familiar with many of the best practices for setting up a checkout environment—displaying cheaper, common carry items like gum, magazines, candy, and bottled water—but you might not be aware of all you can accomplish with your POS system
Another important distinction to make before we dive into strategies is between point of sale and point of purchase (POP). POP is broader—it may refer to an entire convenience store, for example, and can cover all the signage, floor decals, and other advertising material up and down the aisles. Point of sale advertising is much more specific, applying only to the actual site of transaction (the counter, checkout line, or, in some cases, a digital kiosk).
It’s an important distinction to make, since you might see these two terms used interchangeably elsewhere. When it comes to effective POS advertising, it pays to get advice specific to the point of sale.
The main strategy for the physical POS environment is to make sure you’re using the surrounding space efficiently. Many grocery stores share a fairly standard setup—magazines, gum, chapstick, candy, beverages—and these items are tried-and-true. They sell well at checkout, and it’s a good bet to include them there in your store (if they’re appropriate to your industry).
Adding something beyond the old standards, though, can capture attention and drive sales. The right angle for this will vary. Some grocery stores, for example, place scented candles at checkout, a good fit for a customer who’s entertaining and, often, a diversion for customers waiting in line. Browsing and sampling scents to kill time can often result in a purchase. There are an enormous number of options for stocking your point of sale, but planning for your specific audience can make a major difference in your success here.
If your POS can support digital signage, setting up screens at checkout can be another strategic form of advertising. (You can accomplish this with physical signs to an extent, but you won’t have the same flexibility and variety you can present with digital.)
Imagine standing in line, waiting to cash out your order. If there was a sign displaying dynamic and interesting content, you would probably be happy to read along as you wait. This sort of signage is the perfect opportunity to display brand messaging, alert about upcoming promotions, and feature particular products.
POS systems with integrated product catalogs are most common in self-service stores, where customers can use them to ring up items and place orders directly. This is naturally a great way to boost efficiency, but the advertising benefit is critical, too. A POS with this feature gives customers a way to actively and comprehensively see what you offer, and it can be especially effective if you combine product pictures and short descriptions to provide a complete view of your offerings.
Integrated discounts and promotions are one of the major benefits of a good POS and they can play a large role in driving repeat visits. A simple step you can take is to ensure your POS displays relevant discounts and promotional messaging and keep this up to date as your offerings change. Simple awareness of an upcoming deal can go a long way in getting a customer back in the door. Another strategy you can use is to make the interface for applying discounts easy to use. Displaying information about a discounted transaction for the customer to see as it occurs can also be a reward reinforcement that doubles as a checkpoint for the customer to ensure they’re getting their deal.
If you’re looking for a new POS system, make accessibility a priority. Customer-facing systems should be easy to read and use, provide helpful options and information, and account for customers with a diverse range of needs.
Once you have a great POS, you can also use it to provide helpful content to customers while they wait to check out. You might choose to alert customers of an upcoming holiday, for example, and point out where you stock relevant items. If it’s appropriate in your industry, you can try providing tips or suggestions, too.
Gift cards are a perfect fit for featured display at your POS, both for customers who are actively ready to buy and customers who might make note of your selection and return later when they have an occasion to purchase one. When it comes to your POS system, make sure you use a tool that makes cashing out with a gift card as simple as any other form of payment to reduce friction for the customer.
Advertising a loyalty program via your POS can go beyond simply making customers aware—you can also provide the opportunity to sign up or activate a membership right from your POS while showing the benefits of joining. Once customers are enrolled, you can continue to demonstrate membership value by showing them how their status saves them money.
The power of advertising with your POS doesn’t only come from direct device-to-customer messaging. POS systems are often equipped with data collection and analytics programs that make them an even more valuable tool for assessing your marketing success and making plans for your future efforts.
A good POS will let you track sales, automatically update inventory info to keep you informed of high-value and low-value products, and identify demographic and seasonal trends that can help you further refine your ongoing marketing strategy.
Marketing at checkout is a smart way to boost sales, but if your POS system can’t help you accomplish all you need to, the impact of your efforts will be limited. To go beyond optimizing just the sales environment, you’ll need a system that’s built to make these strategies easy.
A few important questions to consider:
These are just a few of the important features to consider when evaluating a POS. If you’re still in the market, take a look at Exatouch®, our own system that’s built to make advertising easy.
Want to see how it works for yourself? Schedule an Exatouch POS demo, and bring us your questions about POS marketing!
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