What is a Point of Purchase?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 September 2019
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The point of purchase is the location and general conditions in which a transaction takes place. Sometimes referred to in retail circles as POP, this term usually encompasses the presentation of the items available for purchase by consumers as well as the means of completing the transaction. From this perspective, a point of purchase includes both the elements that attract business and the means used to allow the customer to pay for the items selected.

A large part of point of purchase advertising has to do with presentation and display. In a physical environment, this refers to the use of various aids to attract and maintain the attention of a customer long enough for a purchase to take place. One of the more traditional forms of this type of presentation is the window display. Shop owners will create attractive scenes in windows facing the street, featuring products that are available in the store. This simple but effective approach can often generate new customers who see something in the window that is appealing, and choose to come into the store where they can find more items to their liking.


Within a store, other examples of a point of purchase may be employed. Banners may alert consumers to discounts on items located in a given department of the store. Aisle displays are common in many different types of stores, especially displays that are located at the end of an aisle. Countertop displays that place products within easy visual range can often entice a consumer to pick up one or two more items as they prepare to pay for their purchases.

Today, there are virtual marketing point of purchase strategies that can attract online shoppers to visit a specific web site and make a purchase. Creating a web site that is visually appealing and easy to navigate will result in customers spending more time on the site, increasing the opportunity for a sale to take place. In order to augment the site itself, the creation of attractive virtual advertising can make a huge difference. Point of purchasing may take the form of banner ads that are placed on other web sites, as well as splash pages that point back to the main site. These simple tools can increase traffic to the online store and result in more sales.

There is a large point of purchase industry that has built up around retail over the years. Vendors supply signage, ideas for dressing windows with creative displays, and even supply quick and easy means of collecting payments for the purchases. Together, all these elements work together to allow a business to enjoy multiple points of purchase and increase the possibility of securing a sale.


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