Point of Sale, POS, has been around for years, but what is the point….?!

Well, back in the day the commercial team in retail would shout at marketing that they needed to shift the over purchase of tomatoes or garden furniture and up would go masses of cardboard offering a combination of percentage off, buy one get one free, offer ends this week etc and the over supply issue was solved.

There was nothing sophisticated about it and in truth you couldn’t really see the offer for the offer, often the next issue was forth coming from the commercial team and more cardboard was piled on more cardboard

It was often argued that POS did nothing but create noise until Tesco did some clever research on POS above the tills and found that it had a significant impact on take up of Tesco Bank products – mind you, there are some cynics out there who would point out retailers asking their research agencies to prove a particular point is a debatable endeavour…. surely not! Having said which, we once attended a feedback session where a participant was asked why they didn’t go down a certain aisle (with a camera on their head!) and they said there had, ah customer behaviour is a mine field…!

POS does work and now with the digital age we are privy to so much more information, we can study shoppers buying patterns, price regionally, change offers to reflect the weather and even have displays in down time selling the dream. Loyalty schemes, hello Tesco and The Co-op with the oldest loyalty scheme around, can use data allied to POS to help drive sales and customer satisfaction. 

There is definitely an argument to say less is more, in truth most retailers should review their point of sale regime regularly and have a good clear out of redundant messaging

POS should be part of the comms mix and not work in isolation, when it works well the POS should reflect the current campaign a brand is running and replace previous campaigns so that above the line fits in with social and the in store experience. When POS works well it drives sales and helps store performance, when it doesn’t it is merely wallpaper and just adds confusion to the customer journey.

What makes POS effective? 

When executed well, on-shelf POS can increase product visibility, attract customer attention, and potentially lead to increased sales. It serves as a reminder or incentive for customers to consider specific products or take advantage of special offers while they are actively browsing or making purchasing decisions.

Key is it should be well designed, have a clear call to action and an obvious offer – the minute you start writing an essay then you’re doomed!

In a retail environment customers are busy, shopping in a supermarket is generally not a leisure activity, whereas in mainstream retail the consumer often wants to browse, feel comfortable and be given the right message at the right time.  We know from research that many customers are shy and reticent to ask questions, so POS should do that job for them – clear, to the point and sales enhancing.

The effectiveness of on-shelf POS is influenced by factors such as competition from other promotional materials or displays, the overall shopping environment, and the preferences and behaviours of individual shoppers. As the demand for retail space to work harder grows, POS should be considered as part of the overall experience and not slapped in any old how, retailers should put themselves in their customers shoes, think like a customer and talk to them in their language.

If you have an idle moment, next time you’re out shopping, have a look at what’s hanging from the ceiling and put on shelf and ask yourself, have I been influenced by the messaging – if you haven’t then the truth is, that cardboard may as well be in the bin!

Hello Finch. Listening Intelligently.