POP Goes the Impulse Buy

No matter what you sell in your store, there’s always one place you can try to sell more of it before each customer walks out: the point of purchase.

The POP has long been thought of mainly as a place for impulse buys, and it still is in places like supermarkets and convenience stores. Yet in boutiques and other types of specialty stores, it has become much more than that. Creative displays and merchandising, along with good staff training, can make your point of purchase an area that looks like anything but an impulse stop.

First off, do away with the idea that the POP needs to be an isolated part of the store. Depending on your layout, consider putting it near the middle but still within view of the front door. Then build an “island” of showcases around it, with a gate or hinged shelf providing employee access. Now your customers can circle around the island before landing at the cash wrap.

Train your staff to treat this area not just as the final stop on your customers’ visits, but as a section where they can capture significant sales. When you’re busy, have them make sure there’s at least one person ringing up sales and one more assisting customers browsing the showcases, bins and countertop displays.

“Because so many customers are accustomed to seeing the cheap stuff by the cash wrap, surprise them with a selection of medium- to high-priced goods.”

Of course, the merchandise you select for the POP is an important part of the equation. Instead of trinkets, display some of your small, high-quality items–especially on the counter. Because so many customers are accustomed to seeing the cheap stuff by the cash wrap, surprise them with a selection of medium- to high-priced goods. That can slow them down and get them to look at more of what you have in the showcases. Again, make sure you have helpful, unobtrusive staff on the other side to help them with questions.

Grabbing your customer’s attention at the last opportunity doesn’t mean you need to push clearance items and markdowns. Instead of suntan lotion key rings and mini flip-flop sandals in, say, a beachwear shop, the smart owner displays upscale sunglasses on the counter and designer T-shirts in the showcase. The sunglasses tell the customer you’re concerned about protecting their eyes from harmful rays at the beach, and the showing off the shirts in the showcase give them a higher perceived value because they’re not just hanging on some rack.

You know your merchandise best. Try to enliven the mix at the POP. Experiment until you find the optimal placement. Then try to rotate the goods every few weeks so regular customers will have something to look forward to.

In these tough economic times, you really need to maximize every square inch of your selling space – including the POP. Think you can’t afford showcases, bins or countertop displays? Think again. They’re surprisingly affordable, as a look at our online catalog will show you.

Keep it interesting and you’ll see how a great POP can make your sales figures really pop.

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