Point of Purchase or POP refers to the location in which a transaction takes place. A “checkout” is a POP terminal or the hardware and the software used for the purpose of checkouts; and are equivalent to an electronic cash register. Point of purchase displays or POP displays on the other hand refers to a specialized kind of sales promotion, which is found near, or next to the checkout counter, which is the “point of purchase”. These displays are set up for the purpose of drawing the attention of the customers to the products, which might be new products, or are available on special offers. They can also be used for promoting special events, such as seasonal or holiday sales. POP displays may include shelf edging, display packs, dummy packs, display stands, posters, mobiles, as well as banners.
Generally in case of smaller retail outlets, such displays are supplied by manufacturers of the products, which are sold by the retailer. They are sited, restocked as well as maintained by their regular salespersons. This is however less common in case of large supermarkets, since they may control the activities of the suppliers due to the large purchasing power. More over, they prefer to make use of their own materials designed for being consistent with the corporate theme as well as store layout.
Common items which might appear in the POP displays throughout the year include batteries, candy, soft drinks, chewing gum, comics, magazines, tobacco, as well as writable DVDs and CDs. Such displays are also useful for outlets with restricted floor space, since there tends to be a lot of wasted space around the counters.
POP displays are usually covered with branding for products that they are selling, and are generally made of foam board or cardboard, and/or feature a covering on a plastic or Perspex stand, with all intended to be replaceable and disposable easily. This allows the designers to make total use of colors as well as printing for making the display appealing visually. A few displays are fixed and are non-disposable. They may include lighting for making the display more visible. They may also include a cooler, generally for ice cream or drinks. On the other hand, some of them may be not more than a simple metal basket, with no designs on the outside, and simply show the price. Such kinds of displays are easier to refill.
In recent times, Light boxes have become particularly popular. A light box refers to an illuminated POP display. Usually such displays use fluorescent tubes for illuminating a poster, which is inserted in the light box.
Nonetheless, irrespective of what kind of POP displays is used, they tend to be an important marketing tool.