10 Point of Purchase Display Tips to Increase Retail Sales

A point of purchase display (aka POP display) is a critical sales and marketing tool for retailers and CPGs.

POP displays can introduce and educate shoppers, encourage them to try a product, and ultimately drive sales. Point of purchase displays can also enhance a retail store. The best ones breathe life into your space, making it look more welcoming and dynamic.

POP displays are so important, in fact, that the global point of purchase displays market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.9% during the period of 2018 to 2026.

Point of purchase displays offer a lot of value to brands and retailers, and they will continue to do so for years to come. But in order to get the most out of them, your POP displays have to be creative, unique, and well-executed.

Here are 10 pointers to help you do just that.

1. Use imagery that your audience can identify with

When done, here is content other readers find helpful:

 The best way to grab shoppers’ attention is to show them something they can relate to. Often, this means using images or people that fit the same profile as your target audience. If you’re selling to middle-aged men, then try to incorporate pictures of them in your displays. Selling to kids? Show them images they can identify with.

That’s what Barbie did in the following POP display, which encouraged girls to “be anything” they wanted to be. To get the message across, the brand used various types of Barbies in the display, with each doll sporting a different costume and look.

In doing so, the brand put out an empowering and relatable message to young girls. So whether a girl wants to be a pilot, a doctor, or an astronaut, Barbie is telling her that she can accomplish it.

2. Go for an unusual shape

Boxy displays that look nothing more than glorified shelves are so commonplace in retail stores, they barely register on shoppers’ radars.

Strive to do something different by having your point of purchase displays come in unique shapes and sizes. Many beverage brands, for example, create displays in the shape of a drink bottle.

Or, consider using a unique shape altogether. Halos Mandarins, for instance, used a large, colorful cutout of a tree in its display below. The tree is positioned right in the middle, with products (i.e., mandarins) sitting beneath it, making it look like you’re picking fruits from under the tree.

You could also put a new spin on a common display. Have a look at the following POP display from Lindt. Yes, it’s technically “boxy,” but Lindt chose to stack the boxes unevenly on top of each other, so it doesn’t look like a traditional point of purchase display.

3. Get in line with the seasons

If there’s a big holiday or shopping event around the corner, make sure your POP displays are relevant to the season.

Poo-Pourri, a company that sells fragrant sprays, is doing just that. Poo-Pourri is marketing its product as “the perfect stocking stuffer,” and it’s using a witty POP display to do it. Have a look at the brand’s efforts below.

poopurri pop.png
Image credit: Francesca Nicasio

4. Create something interactive

If it makes sense for your brand and merchandise, add interactive elements to your display. Doing so gives people the opportunity to engage with the display itself so they can learn more about your products and be more encouraged to make a purchase.

Interactive displays are gaining in popularity and we’ll likely see (even) more of them in retail stores. And the good news? They’re more accessible than ever.

As David Ewart, the lead merchandiser and director at Pavilion Broadway notes, “Interactive displays are increasingly popular. With POS display units and tablets at their lowest prices ever, it’s very possible to create a tailored user experience.”

Check out what Sephora is doing in its South Coast Plaza location. Sephora attached a tablet to one of the shelves at the hair care section and invites shoppers to take the “Hair Care Finder” quiz.

Customers can tap on the screen, share details about their hair, and the quiz will generate product recommendations based on the shoppers’ input.

Image credit: Francesca Nicasio

The Dollar Shave Club also makes use of interactive screens but on a larger scale. DSC has airport vending machines with life-sized screens that customers can interact with if they want to purchase razors on the go.

5. Use POP displays to educate

POP displays are primarily used to market and promote products, but there are instances when you should use them to educate customers. This is particularly important if you’re showcasing multiple items in one display.

Having various choices can overwhelm shoppers, so you need to point them in the right direction. This can be done by setting up displays with informative and educational content.

Here’s an example from the Crate & Barrel store in Pasadena, CA, which showcases several utensils. To aid kitchenware shoppers, Crate & Barrel added some useful info at the top of the display, telling customers what each item is used for.

6. Show the product in action

In-store demos are an excellent way to show off your products, but they can be labor-intensive and costly. Plus, not every product can be demonstrated on-site. Fortunately, POP displays offer a way to show your products in action without all the fuss.

By incorporating videos into your displays, you can effectively grab people’s attention and show them how your product works.

GoPro does just that in the following display, which has a video of athletes using the HERO 7 cam while they surf.

7. Encourage product testing

Use your POP displays to get people to test your products on the spot.

This display from The Body Shop, for instance, promotes the brand’s Body Butter items by encouraging customers to test it on themselves. Best of all, The Body Shop spells out what it wants customers to do. The display proudly says “Try me” so the message is hard to miss.

Body Shop Body Butter POP.png
Image credit: Francesca Nicasio

8. Make your POP displays stand out with the right materials and lighting

“It’s important to make your POS/POP area eye-catching and engaging — this makes it easier for customers to find and entices them to purchase,” advises Mark Marth, CEO at Color Edge.

According to him, “Mixing substrates and materials (for example, mixing paper, vinyl, acrylic, etc), using bright/fluorescent colors, and using glitter and holographic textures will all make your POS/POP displays punchier.”
And don’t forget about lighting, he adds.

“Using interesting lighting — for example, backlit graphics combined with pops of light in other parts of your display and under-lit counters — will also draw the eye.”

These Whittaker’s displays at Auckland International Airport in New Zealand are putting the pointers above to good use. In addition to using different materials and textures, the displays are well-lit and do a tremendous job of catching people’s eyes without being too bright or overwhelming.

9. Frequently switch up your displays

“The most common mistake I see retailers make is not changing their POP display,” says Meaghan Brophy, a senior retail analyst at Fit Small Business.

Meaghan’s advice? “Make sure POP displays are always tidy and well-stocked. Weekly, evaluate sales and product positioning to highlight newer or more popular items.”

Pro tip: Use a retail audit and task management solution like Bindy to make this process easier. Bindy simplifies your retail audits and evaluations, so you can make sure that your displays are being executed correctly — and on schedule.

Stop leaving money on the table with poorly executed merchandising

10. Make data-backed decisions

Always listen to what the data is telling you. Track your sales and conversions to gauge the performance of your displays, and then adjust accordingly.
As Meaghan puts it, “POP displays are hot real estate. If something is not selling in your POP display, move it to make room for something that is selling better. Likewise, if something is selling really well, but doesn’t have great margins, change your pricing or swap it out with another item with better profit margins.”

Make your displays POP!

Making your POP displays stand out requires a mix of creativity and data.

It’s not enough to put a bunch of products in a colorful shelf or fixture. You need to factor in seasons, trends, and your audience’s needs in your design process.

And equally important is tracking the performance of your initiatives, so you can keep optimizing them.
Taking the steps above will enable you to come up with memorable point of purchase displays that engage and convert your customers.


Refer to the Merchandising category for checklists, how-tos and best practices for merchandising.

4 thoughts on “10 Point of Purchase Display Tips to Increase Retail Sales

  1. I liked your idea to mix materials and colors to make your display pop, as well as add lighting to highlight items. My sister-in-law runs a bakery and wants to find a retail shop fitting service in Victoria. I’ll let her know these tips to help her get one that looks great in her shop.

  2. Amazing article! I feel another thing that can be helpful in increasing retail sales is the right use of colors. In fact, studies have found that 60% of customer decision making is determined by color alone. Imagine the influence a POP display could have with the right color combinations!

  3. New products should always be displayed in a prominent position. An area that is visible to foot traffic.

  4. These are great tips for how to make the most of POP displays. Studies have found that 32% of shoppers to do not make shopping lists, and 82% make their decisions in store. Making displays that are interactive, or even let you try the product, can really influence those decisions.

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