What is the Difference Between POP and POS?

The meaning of Point of Purchase (POP) varies according to the context in which it’s used. In a broader sense, POP refers to the physical location where a sale is made, like a retail store. Within a store, however, the term becomes a bit more complicated, since it is often divided into POP and POS (Point of Sale).

Here’s everything you need to know about each.

POP vs. POS: A High Level Overview  

Traditionally, POP is the area in a store where the customer pays for their purchase and the seller provides a receipt for the transaction. These days, however, many retailers refer to this area as POS and use the term POP to reference point of purchase displays that showcase a product.

POP Displays

POP displays are dedicated sections in a store where certain products are promoted and/or sale items are showcased. These retail POP displays highlight products by removing them from shelves and placing them in a more prominent place where the best features are also highlighted.

POP displays are placed at different locations in a retail store, with the entrance and checkout area being two of the most popular. Many large retailers meticulously plan product placement for their stores and see an increase in sales, simply by using large displays in prominent locations. In-store promotions like this typically have an impact on consumer behavior. In fact, in a 2017 survey, 42.4% of respondents said that promotions influenced their decision about what groceries to buy.   

POS Systems

POS systems are used to accept payments from customers.  While some retailers may still prefer cash registers, many small and large retailers use sophisticated point of sale systems, which consist of hardware and software components that are often designed to fit the requirements of the business sector or retailer.  Typical POS hardware components include a cash drawer, credit card reader, barcode reader, printer, and screens (standard or touch-screen).

POS systems are either on-premise or a cloud-based (SaaS) solution. With on-premise systems, retailers purchase licenses to use the software on their computers. With a cloud-based solution, the transaction occurs via the Internet. It’s important to note, however, that most SaaS systems can track transactions when offline as well. Compared to on-premise models, SaaS systems offer the benefit of low upfront costs.

Businesses use POS systems in different ways. For example, many retailers have installed self-checkout systems, where the customers weigh, scan, and pay using a touch-screen interface.

Besides logging purchases, POS systems perform many other functions as well. They help retailers:

  • Analyze sales data
  • Market to existing customers
  • Manage inventory and employees

POP displays and POS systems work in tandem.  While one is designed to help sell more products, the other is required to actually process the financial transaction. If you’re looking for ways to increase your business’s revenue and are interested in using POP displays to do so, contact us today for a free quote.