Check Out the Check-Out Lane: Optimizing In-Store Point of Sales

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When designing your store layout, there’s one area you should not neglect: the checkout lane. Big brands like Walmart, Meijer, and Ulta have learned how to capitalize on this vital in-store real estate. Vend Retail Expert Francesca Nicasio offers some ideas on how you could optimize your in-store Point of Sale areas to improve customer experience, and increase sales.

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What Is Point of Sale Marketing?

While POS often refers to a point of sale system, it also refers to the customer-product interactions that occur near where the actual sale of the product happens. The goal is to draw the customer’s attention to your products and market to shoppers who are already in the store and ready to make a purchase. When done strategically, it provides a last-minute way for retailers to influence the details of that purchasing decision.

Why Point of Sale Marketing Works

Why is this such an effective way to garner additional sales? First of all, you already have a rapt audience that has made the decision to buy something, which makes it more likely that they’ll be open to buying an additional item — as long as it’s relatively inexpensive. 

Second, relevant “add-on” items can serve as a reminder to customers and trigger their impulse to buy. For example, TJ Maxx offers up snacks — the number one impulse buy — and Sephora stocks travel- and sample-sized products in these POS displays, which makes it easy for customers to justify as something they genuinely need to stock up on.

Finally, nobody really likes waiting in line, so why not make it pleasant? Turn what could be considered a shopping nuisance into an extension of the shopping experience. Instead of being bored in line, create a POS display that helps reinforce their decision to buy a product by keeping them engaged and interested while they wait. Chances are they’ll even add that item to their cart. 

Benefits of Effective Point of Sale Displays

Since every shopper ends up at the checkout counter, the location of POS displays almost guarantees that customers will encounter your product during their shopping trip. This makes them the perfect location for products that might not have been on a potential buyer’s shopping list — things like candy, bottled water, lip balm — but that once they’ve encountered them, triggered those impulse purchases. 

Retailers can also use POS displays for pushing promotions such as BOGO or special discounts. Because smaller specialized displays can rest on the counter, it’s easy to incorporate signage to draw the shopper’s attention.


What To Consider With Your POS Display

While it might sound easy to throw a few impulse items next to the register, creating a great POS display actually takes a lot of forethought, planning, and an eye for detail. You want to engage your target audience and entice them to increase their purchase, which can be done by incorporating the tips below. 

Understand Your Product 

What does it do? How can you make it stand out in your store? Does it stack well? Would it look better hung or placed on a shelf? Take a long, hard look at what you’re offering, and don’t be afraid to experiment. 


Space near the register is limited. Your POS display will become a focal point in your store, so you want to make sure you can fit as many items as possible on the display while still making it look accessible and not overcrowded. Make sure it’s shopper-friendly, meaning it will be more of a product stock area rather than a visual display so that shoppers can easily access the products.


Where you place the display is critical, as products will be browsed at and chosen frequently, meaning you have to be able to easily restock and tidy the space up. Because of this, you want to make sure the design isn’t too bulky or space consuming, creating more of a nuisance for those in line and also for staff in charge of keeping it stocked.


Most often customers are already in line, but you want an eye-catching design for your POS display that will successfully pull customers in and drive additional sales. Incorporate bold, appropriate imagery that can be seen from a distance and that will draw your customers in and entice them to buy.


The Most Effective Types of POS Displays

The great thing about POS displays is that they’re a relatively inexpensive way to market to shoppers already in your store. The ideas below are both economical and versatile, and can be tailored to your specific situation. 

Counter Displays 

Counter space is arguably the most valuable real estate in a retail store, but you have to be careful not to overcrowd and overstimulate the shopper with too many options. Consider a countertop unit that highlights fast-moving consumables like small toiletry items, beauty items, or food. Just be sure to never block line-of-sight between the clerk and the customer.

Free-Standing Floor Displays

Freestanding display units are a great option for products that you want to draw attention to. Stocking a new brand of makeup? Selling a cookbook from a local author? Whatever the reason for bringing attention to a particular product, this is a great platform to showcase those items. 

Dump Bins 

These are most commonly used for small-packaging products like candy bars and toiletries — things that customers might be inclined to grab a few of at one time.  They’re useful for stocking and selling large quantities, and highlighting discount sales. And because they’re free-standing, they can be seen or interacted with from every angle. 

Sales Floor Samples 

Setting up stations near your registers that allow customers to actually try your product before they buy can influence buying decisions and increase sales. Whole Foods does a great job of this, as they invite vendors to set up booths and pass out samples that draw people in.  While you have to be careful that you don’t overcrowd the area, it can be extremely effective to allow customers to sample most consumable goods. See if your suppliers will send sample-sized inventory to your store for free to support your efforts to increase sales.


The Bottom Line

Your marketing efforts shouldn’t end once a customer sets foot in the store. In fact, your POS displays are a final opportunity to boost sales with last-minute marketing tactics. By taking advantage of all these opportunities, you can optimize your entire retail space and increase sales while also offering shoppers added value, information, and additional deals they might not have otherwise known about. This helps build brand loyalty — and adds to your bottom line.