Complete Guide to Point-of-Purchase Displays for Retail Stores

The Complete Guide to Point-of-Purchase Displays for Retail Stores

Comprehensive how-to for creating POP displays for retail space.

The Black Friday and Christmas shopping seasons are here! With shoppers ready to spend, retailers are ramping up their point-of-purchase (POP) displays. High-concept, visual merchandise displays are one of the best ways to stand out from the crowded sales floor and influence potential customers to spend money. 


All major industries create custom-designed POP displays, including health and beauty, food and beverages, sports, pharmaceuticals, and more. Point-of-purchase displays are a dynamic marketing tool that can help you elevate the holiday shopping experience, leverage the surge in customer traffic, and increase sales. Here’s a complete guide to getting started with POP displays.


What is a Point-of-Purchase Display?

Point of purchase displays are advertising and promotional materials strategically placed near the door, checkout, or other high-traffic areas inside retail stores. Because they vary in size, shape, color, and material, point-of-purchase display printing is crucial to ensuring the success of the brand’s in-store display. As one of the top types of retail displays, POP display designs can be high concept to reflect the product they’re promoting, but all have shelves or space to place the merchandise on for easy access.

There are also point-of-sales (POS) displays. POS displays are often reserved for the checkout counter, but can also be placed throughout the store. Both serve the same purpose: to influence impulse buying. And impulse buying accounts for a big portion of retail sales. A recent study revealed that 82% of shoppers surveyed said they make a purchase decision on the spot. 

Benefits of Point-of-Purchase Displays

Understanding the benefits of point-of-purchase (POP) displays can help maximize a company’s return on investment. After all, these displays play a significant role in influencing customer behavior and driving sales. Consider this: the POP display market was worth an estimated 11 billion dollars in 2021. And that was after COVID-19 had shuttered stores and retail spaces for months! Well-designed custom point-of-purchase displays provide many benefits for retailers and brands, including:

  • Budget-Friendly & Easy to Test: POP displays are cost-effective and can provide a significant return on investment. They also allow easy marketing testing and tweaking.
  • Customer-Targeted: The placement of your displays can target customers who are most likely to purchase your products.
  • Spotlight Promotions & Achieve Extra Visibility: POP displays are perfect for highlighting promotional offers and getting extra visibility for new or unique products.
  • Drive Sales: According to Point of Purchase Advertising International, companies who invest in POP displays saw a 140% increase in sales over competitors who did not utilize POP displays.

Types of Point-of-Purchase Displays

POP displays come in three main types. The type of POP display you choose will depend on several factors, including your budget, the length of time you want to use the display, and the products you promote.

1. Temporary POP Displays: These are typically used for 1-2 months and are made from cardboard, coroplast, or other cost-effective materials. They’re a low-cost alternative, excellent for advertising short-term sales or seasonal products.

2. Semi-Permanent POP Displays: Sturdier and meant for 3-6 months of use, these displays are most often used for showcasing new product lines or trending items.

3. Permanent POP Displays: Built from durable materials like wood, metal, or plastic, these displays can last more than a year. They are perfect for showcasing high-demand or flagship products you want to highlight year-round.

Apart from these, Digital POP displays are rapidly gaining popularity. They can display vibrant graphics and animation, drawing the customers’ attention and providing a unique and interactive shopping experience. Digital POP displays are often showcased with cardboard, coroplast, or fabric material.

Deciding which type of point-of-purchase display and when comes down to the product, its popularity, and timeliness. Temporary POP displays are a good option for time-sensitive promotions, seasonal items, and product launches. Semi-permanent POP displays are ideal for products with ongoing or updating features (like cell phones or smart devices). Permanent displays are perfect for long-term brand presence or consistently popular items.

Where to Place POP Displays

Whether you have a small boutique or a three-level retail store, strategic placement is critical for maximizing the benefits of a POP display. High-traffic areas such as entrances, end caps, and checkout counters are prime real estate for POP displays. Depending on the size of the aisle, you can also place point-of-purchase displays in the center of an aisle or walkway.

Some retailers will even place them near other top-selling items in the store as long as the brands aren’t in competition. For example, you may want to avoid putting POP perfume displays for two competing brands next to each other. Though POS displays are often used in retail, they can be used in any situation where products are displayed, such as events, expos, trade shows, and more.

Designing Your Point-Of-Purchase Display

Design complexity, size, and material choice, costs for these displays can widely vary. You want to create a point-of-purchase display that can stop foot traffic, but your specific needs, budget, and the layout of your retail space play a significant role in the design and execution of your custom retail display. A large POS floor display, for example, may not work for a small boutique store. Here are some examples of point-of-purchase displays to consider:

Floor Displays

  • Freestanding promotional displays placed on the sales floor.
  • Used to highlight products and direct traffic flow.
  • They come in a wide range of sizes, from small displays to large island fixture displays.
  • Materials often include cardboard, plastic, metal and wire racks.
  • Allow flexibility in positioning on the sales floor.

Pallet Displays

  • A cost-effective way to create large-scale displays.
  • Utilize standard pallets as the base for building custom retail displays.
  • Provide a lot of space for showcasing products in high quantities.
  • Make it easy to move and replenish products.
  • Pallet displays can include signage and graphics on the pallet wrap or attached accents.

End Cap Displays

  • These promotional displays are placed at the end of store aisles and are highly visible to foot traffic
  • Merchandise can be displayed on up to three sides of the fixture.
  • They can be customized to fit shelving units specific to the aisle end space.
  • Adding branding and graphics on multiple sides amplifies the impact.

Counter Top Displays

  • Small product displays that sit on checkout counters.
  • Great for impulse purchases as customers wait in line.
  • Include options like racks, shelves, cases and dispensing units.
  • They require minimal space while still being highly visible.
  • Allow easy integration into existing checkout counter layout.

Tips for Creating Effective POP Displays

There are many reasons to incorporate POP displays and POS displays into your marketing strategy, especially for holidays and seasonal shopping months. Whether you choose a point-of-sale countertop display or a high-concept custom retail display, here are some tips to keep in mind.

  • Keep the display clean, arranged, and well-stocked.
  • Create a sense of urgency with limited-time offers or countdowns.
  • When it comes to point-of-purchase display printing, use captivating graphics and dimensional concepts to attract attention.
  • Maintain brand consistency across all displays.
  • Rotate or change displays regularly so customers always see fresh content.

Color Reflections Are The POP Display Printing Experts

Color Reflections is a leading provider of large format printing services—especially point-of-purchase display printing. We specialize in printing durable and vibrant graphics on a variety of materials for more than 30 years. Color Reflections also provides custom-fabricated, dimensional, cost-effective displays based on your conceptual designs.

With six nationwide locations, our experts work with you to create stunning and eye-catching POP displays and POS displays for all types of retail space. If you’re ready to boost your in-store presence and increase your sales, contact our team today.