Point-of-sale or POS marketing refers to the merchandising and promotional efforts around the register or the online cart and checkout pages. It seeks to influence customers by positioning small, low-cost items around the checkout area to drive impulse buys. This marketing strategy not only catches customers when they are poised to make a purchase, but also keeps them engaged and happy as they wait in line, improving their overall experience. When done effectively, POS marketing can help boost your business’s upselling and cross-selling potential, reinforce your brand, and look great in your store.
Here are 14 in-store and online POS marketing tips to drive sales:
1. Line Your Checkout Space With Displays
Use shelves or free-standing displays around your register to showcase small, inexpensive products. Placing displays around your register will keep your customers shopping as they wait in line, and will promote impulse buys.
Impulse buys: An unplanned purchase. When a customer buys items they were not planning on buying, or when something is bought “on a whim.”
Impulse buys can be a great way to drive sales, and eight out of 10 impulse buys are made in brick-and-mortar stores. When stocking your shelves with impulse items use products like snacks, small accessories, or other little items that customers can add to their purchase without much thought. Or, another strategy is to display odds and ends that customers might have forgotten—like batteries, lighters, or nail clippers.
For example, at my boutique, we had fashion tape, static guard, and small accessories around our register. Customers constantly would add a roll of tape or fun ring to their initial purchases—products they may have forgotten or never considered had the items not been marketed around our POS.
2. Add Countertop Displays
Another place that you can capitalize on impulse buys is on your checkout counter. Create small displays like the ones below, which showcase items that customers can easily add to their purchase or small products that they may have forgotten to shop for.
The countertop POS marketing strategy is especially useful if you don’t have a lot of space around your cash wrap for shelving displays. Displaying products on your counter is a great way to utilize product space without taking up additional square footage.
Another way that you can enhance your countertop displays is with guiding signage. Spark inspiration among your customers with signs telling them how to use your product or what it is best suited for. If customers are able to envision how they would use your products, they will feel even more subliminal pressure to make an impulse purchase.
3. Create a Sampling Area
Another way that you can boost customer engagement and drive sales around your POS is by creating a sampling or demo station. Whether you are sampling a new snack or showing shoppers how to use a featured product, a sampling area is a great way to introduce customers to new products and boost your sales.
Did you know?
According to a study from the VP of Snack Factory, samples have an average of 25-30% conversion rate, meaning that over a quarter of customers who try a sample will end up buying the product.
To begin, you can either create your own samples and station or contact your supplier for sample-sized inventory. Most of the time, suppliers don’t mind sending them out for free, and they will often include a temporary sampling station for you to use. Otherwise, a small folding table should do the trick.
Set up your sampling in an area closest to the checkout counter, but be sure that it doesn’t get overcrowded or disrupt the queue. This will allow you to capitalize on customers about to make a purchase, drive impulse buys, and keep order in your checkout area.
4. Cross Merchandise Complementary Products
When customers are in the checkout line or are preparing to pay, use POS marketing to cross merchandise complementary products. Cross merchandising saves customers time, makes their shopping experience easier and more convenient, reminds them of need, sparks ideas, and drives your sales.
Cross merchandising: The practice of displaying items from different product categories together to incentivize customers to make multiple item purchases.
For example, a grocery store might place pasta and pasta sauce at an endcap near the register so customers can easily add both products to their cart at the end of their shopping trip. Or, a boutique might display scarves and hats near its POS so customers can grab all their cold-weather essentials in one place. Placing items that are commonly sold together near your POS is a great strategy for upselling.
Upselling: A sales strategy in which you encourage customers to purchase additional suggested products or services that are directly related to the original item of interest.
To get started, identify items that complement each other and make sense to sell together. Of those products, choose the ones that can easily fit at your POS and are small and relatively inexpensive. Remember, even with cross merchandising at your POS, the products you choose should fall into the “impulse” category, remaining small and easy for customers to add to their purchases.
Market these products around your POS, and don’t forget about guiding signage—these can be especially helpful to elucidate your product pairings and clarify how customers can use them in their personal lives.
5. Use Compelling Call to Action Verbiage
Use call to action signage around the products at your POS to make shoppers more likely to buy. For example, “try me” or “buy now” verbiage call customers to take some kind of action, and CTA verbiage has been shown to increase sales by over 1,000% for online retailers.
Call to Action (CTA): A marketing term for any display that is designed to prompt an immediate response or a sale.
Keep your CTA simple and straight to the point, but also bold and attention-grabbing. The message should be short and sweet, starting with a strong verb like “buy” or “try” to incite action. Then use other words like “yours,” “now,” and “discount” to make your CTA compelling and eye-catching. In terms of design, use bold fonts and colors to make sure your signage stands out, and position it at eye level to ensure maximum visibility.
6. Set Up “Dump Bins”
Dump bins are floor-standing open containers that hold loose products, like swimming noodles and school supplies. Dump bins typically hold products that are categorically the same and are on sale or discount.
I am sure you have seen the large wire bins of old $6.99 DVDs at your local supercenter. Those bins are dump bins, and they are a POS marketing strategy aimed at promoting impulse purchases and moving clearance products.
If you have large numbers of low-cost clearance items, consider displaying them in a dump bin near your register. Use signage to draw attention to their price and make them accessible from all sides. This will keep customers shopping as they wait in line and promote impulse, discount motivated purchases.
Did you know?
Anywhere from 76%-89% of US shoppers would be willing to try a new product if offered a discount or sale price.
7. Display a QR Code at Checkout
The checkout line is a great place to use QR codes to engage customers with your brand and keep people shopping as they wait in line. With a QR code shoppers can use their phones to scan to your website, see your social media pages, take a survey, and even scan items and make payments.
Customers who are in line to check out have already connected with your brand, so if you offer them more engagement, they are more likely to want to partake. Place your QR codes around your register to boost engagement, promote online sales, and create an exciting and easy customer experience.
You can check out this article for more on how you can set up a QR code that makes sense for your business.
8. Have Customer Service Available at Checkout
Be sure that your customers can get assistance at or near your POS. This placement of your customer service area is not only logical to most shoppers, but it will help to ensure that customers are able to make their purchases with a positive experience.
TIP: Place flyers or displays with common customer questions around your POS. Include things like your return policy, parking information, and current promotions—anything you think your customers might need or want to know.
Depending on how much space you have, your customer service desk will either be part of your POS station, or it will be a separate desk. Equip your service area with a handbook of company policies, its own POS kiosk, and any supplies your associates might need to help customers with returns, exchanges, or other product issues.
For example, at my boutique, our customer service area was located at our POS. So, we had a sewing kit, static guard, tide sticks, and pantyhose for women to use to try on clothes. We also had tissues, paper and ribbons for wrapping, as well as office supplies for any paperwork or shipping information.
9. Entice Online Shoppers With Free Shipping
POS marketing is not just for brick-and-mortar stores; it is also an important part of creating an effective online presence. When it comes to ecommerce sites, POS marketing refers to all the design and marketing efforts that take place around the shopping cart and checkout pages.
Just like in real stores, effective ecommerce POS marketing can help you drive impulse sales, upsell, and make shopping easier for your customers.
Did you know?
Most American adults (88.6%) have succumbed to impulsive online shopping, with each person spending an average $81.75 per session.
Your shipping prices are a huge factor in customers’ decisions to make a purchase or not. Nearly 80% of consumers say that free shipping would make them more likely to shop online, and 54% of shoppers under 25 say that same-day shipping is their No. 1 purchase driver.
You can set yourself ahead and make people more likely to purchase if you offer free shipping. The biggest consideration you will have to make is how much your business can spend on shipping costs. Typically, small businesses are not able to offer free shipping as a standard policy. There are, however, several ways you can offer free shipping without sacrificing your bottom line.
- Minimum Purchase: You can offer free shipping once a customer reaches a certain ticket amount.
- Factor shipping cost into price: One way you can offer free shipping on all orders is by bumping up your prices slightly to account for shipping costs.
- Limited Time: You can offer limited-time shipping promotions to incentivize shopping during slow seasons or to stay competitive during peak times.
- Coupons: You can offer to exchange email or texting information in exchange for free shipping codes.
- Membership: You can make free shipping available to customers who have a membership or pay a flat annual shipping fee.
One of the best places to advertise your shipping deals is around your POS. Flash your shipping offers around the shopping cart icon, when customers add things to their cart, when they are in their carts, and again when they are inputting their information. This will ensure that customers know your offerings and benefits when they are making their purchasing decision.
10. Suggest Complementary Products
Another way that you can boost your sales with POS marketing is through product suggestions. For example, if a customer has a pair of denim shorts in their cart, you might suggest matching tops and shoes that could make the item into a complete outfit. Product suggestions are a great upselling strategy that make shopping easier for customers.
Did you know?
Product recommendations make up some 30% of ecommerce site revenue.
Flash recommended products when people are checking out so they see everything they might be interested in before they make their final purchase. Be sure to show them options for similar products, as well as complimentary items and items from the same brand. Use platforms like Shopify where you can subscribe to tools that let you customize upsell features in your online store. Some are free, like SpurIT, while others come with a monthly subscription with more personalization options.
11. Show Recently Viewed Items
You can remind shoppers of what they have seen and drive them to make a purchase by showing customers their recently viewed items on your POS page. This will not only show customers what they have already seen and enjoyed, but will make it easier for shoppers to find past items.
TIP: Offer bulk discounts with the previously viewed items. A bulk discount will give some buyers the last push they need to purchase both (or all) items instead of just one.
12. Send Abandoned Cart Recovery Emails
On average, the rate of cart abandonment in ecommerce is 84%. Without any infrastructure to beckon them back, all of these shoppers are simply a lost cause. However, if your website sends out a series of emails to remind customers about all they have left behind, you are more likely to end up turning that abandonment into a sale.
You can use services like Shopify or Drip to get an automated abandoned cart recovery email set up. Keep your recovery email short and simple. Show pictures of what customers left behind, and consider sweetening the deal with a discount or shipping offer.
13. Campaign for a Cause
Another way that you can craft your customers’ experience and enhance your POS marketing is by making community partnerships and advertising them on the POS page. This will let customers know what your business stands for and how they can become involved.
Community partnerships not only define your brand in the eyes of your shoppers, but also help to drive sales and attract new customers.
Did you know?
According to Google’s 2020 Retail Holiday Guide, 46% of US shoppers would prefer buying from businesses that align with their values.
Contact your local blood bank, look to community Facebook pages, and talk to your community center to learn where you can get involved. The cause you choose, however, will attract a certain customer, so be sure you are choosing groups and causes that align with your brand and how you want to represent your business.
14. Advertise Your Loyalty Program
When customers are checking out, they have already connected with your brand and are ripe for becoming a loyal customer. This makes it the perfect time to let them know about your rewards, VIP, or loyalty programs. Advertise your loyalty program in your POS area to get customers when they are most engaged with your brand and help turn them into loyal shoppers.
Did you know?
More than 60% of loyal customers go out of their way to buy from companies they are loyal to, 60%-70% will make more frequent purchases, and 50% will purchase more products.
In addition to creating more loyal customers for future purchases, if you are able to offer a signup deal, advertising your loyalty program at the POS will also incentivize shoppers to go through with their purchase or even buy more.
For example, a customer is about to buy a candle from your site, and then a 15% off loyalty member signup coupon comes on the table at checkout. The customer would not only be more likely to keep buying candles from you in the future as a loyalty member, but would also be more incentivized to make a larger purchase at that moment due to the coupon.
I would suggest having a signup spot on your shopping cart and checkout pages. I would also prompt customers to join again on the order confirmation page. These three spots should make it easy for customers to find signup opportunities at any time, and remind them of the opportunity again right before they leave your site.
POS marketing is a great way to boost your revenue, craft your brand, and drive impulse buys right before purchase. Both in-store and online, POS marketing is vital to the success of your business and keeping your customers happy. Use the tips above to create an effective POS marketing campaign and watch your business grow.