Talk to Your Customers When They’re in the Buying Mood
by Chad Rueffert

It’s estimated that more than 75% of retail purchasing decisions are actually made in the store or on location.  To put it the other way, only 25% of the customers who buy something from you have made up their mind before you see them.  The other 75% are still looking for a reason to buy, and whether you are a store owner or a product manufacturer, you need you to provide it to them. 

The most important aspect of closing the sale with the undecided 75% is knowledgeable, friendly and motivated sales employees.  Interaction between employees and customers is the easiest and most effective way to close a sale and to encourage additional purchases.  But chances are you have more customers than you do employees.  Or in the case of manufacturers and distributors, you are relying on some one else’s employees and sales staff to both understand and promote your product.  That’s why point of sale promotions are one of the most effective retail marketing tools used today.

Point of sale or point of purchase advertising consists of anything located within the store where the actual purchase is made or sales pitch is given.  This can be as simple as a coupon display or as extravagant as a full-color display with actual products and moving parts.  POS displays can serve several important marketing purposes.

1 Secure better visibility for your product.  If you are a manufacturer or distributor, shelf and display space in the retail area is important for the success of your product.  A colorful and informational POS display will encourage retailers to more strategically position your product.

2 Create impulse buying.  If a potential customer sees your product display while they’ve got their wallet in their hand, chances are better they’ll make an impulse buying decision.

3 Support and enhance your advertising.  If a potential customer walks into a retail outlet looking for a product they saw advertised through traditional media, they should be able to easily and quickly find it in the store.  POS displays that are consistent with your advertising image and creative approach can make this happen.  On the other hand, if a potential customer sees your ad on television but a competitor’s POS display, you may have just made a sale for the other guy.

4 Assist the sales staff.  In most retail environments there are literally hundreds of products.  No sales staff can be completely trained on every product.  If your POS display adds to their knowledge, they’ll be more comfortable discussing its features and benefits with potential customers.

5 Offer an additional reason to buy, and a reason to buy now.  You must convince your potential customer that your product is going to satisfy some need or desire, and that it can do so better than the competing product.  POS displays can do that.  In addition, by using a coupon or sale promotion, you can encourage people to purchase today to take advantage of a lower price.

Now that you know what POS displays can do for your sales, here are a few pointers for creating them:


1 Make your display consistent with your advertising and packaging.  This allows your potential buyer to begin to build an impression of your product in her mind and to easily identify your product on the shelf.

2 Make your display easy to set up and consistent with store décor.  Your retailers are more likely to set up a display if it fits in with their store image and is easy to use and stock.  Glitzy chrome and glass displays will probably not be used in a general store type atmosphere.  You may also want to change your displays to reflect the time of year.  If your display has a summery look, it will probably come down during Christmas season and may never go back up. 

3 Make your display more than an advertisement.  Again, back to the reason to buy NOW.  Your ads may generate an interest in the product.  Your display should take the next step and sell it.

4 Be sure your focus is on the product, and not the display.  Don’t get overzealous and make your display more attractive than the product it is trying to sell.


Point of sale strategies are easy, effective and cost efficient ways to increase sales, create positive relationships with retailers, generate impulse buys and make your advertising work harder.  To take the first step to incorporate this approach into your marketing plan, begin by paying attention to what you see in retail outlets and noting what grabs and holds your attention.  Studying your own buying habits in a retail environment can often lead to better strategies in your selling environment.