Point of sale: What’s it all about?

Point of sale: What’s it all about?

Waiter Holding Pos Device For Contactless Payment

It’s been an incredibly tough 18 months for businesses in the retail sector, and after the ravages of a global pandemic, there’s a lot of lost ground to make up; recapturing customer attention on the high street, rebuilding brand recognition and tempting consumers away from the convenience of online shopping.

Point of sale (POS) displays have long been used as a way for retailers to attract and communicate with shoppers in store, drawing attention to promotional activities and capitalizing on our penchant for so-called impulse buys.

So what is POS, how does it work and why does it matter?  Read on for everything you need to know!

A point of sale display is any display positioned within an environment where goods are available to buy.  Since medieval times, traders have sought to attract customers by placing signage and other displays outside their premises to let people know what was on offer – and although we’ve come a long way since the village blacksmith hung a horseshoe over his door, the principles of POS haven’t changed that much!

Today, a POS display can be as simple as a chalkboard placed on the sidewalk, or as sophisticated as a mutimedia display with moving images and sound.  Most retail settings employ a combination of POS displays to appeal to their customer in different ways, at different times and in different locations.

The purpose of POS can be to alert, inform or persuade the customer.  Whatever the objective, its biggest advantage is the ability to create impact right at the point of need, where the customer is able to make a decision – and a purchase – there and then.  Let’s look at these key objectives:


This type of POS display is designed to attract attention and say ‘look at me!’.  It could be a sidewalk sign attracting passing customers into a store or café, a series of flag banners on the approach to a shopping mall, or a sign within a store drawing attention to goods on sale or promotion.  Since ‘alert’ type POS displays are there to make people notice things they weren’t necessarily looking for, they are often large in size with bold graphics, and designed to be displayed in busy areas with lots of foot or even vehicular traffic.

Examples: Berlin, Seattle , Rockford


Informative POS displays are designed to provide potential customers with the detail they need to make a decision that will eventually result in a purchase.  Often, they are used as ‘soft’ sales pitch – the customer can access much of the information they need autonomously, which hooks them in to request even more information from an in-person sales rep.  A good example might be a department store selling audio visual equipment – information displays provide basic detail explaining the different specifications and any relevant jargon, and then when the customer knows roughly what they want, they might approach a salesperson for help making a final choice.  This type of POS display can be large or small depending on the amount of information you need to provide.  Digital displays may be useful for communicating a lot of information more clearly, for example in video format.  You might also choose a display that you can fill with fliers or brochures so your customer has something to take away – this is a particularly effective tool when selling big-ticket items, helping to build trust and share knowledge with the customer.

Examples:  Bradford, Tulsa, London 


Persuasive POS displays are everywhere and come in many different formats.  When it comes to persuading the consumer, or capitalising on their tendency to impulse shop, it’s not so much the style of display as where it’s located, and the content on show!  For example, in a clothing store you might find snap frames on the back of changing room doors, persuading consumers to take out a loyalty card with the promise of 10% off their first purchase.  Approaching the cash register, you might find even more snap frames advertising accessories or even snacks at a bargain price.  In a sports store you might find a retractable banner detailing all the ways your existing, worn-out running shoes could be damaging your body.  It’s this combination of the right information, displayed in the right place and at the right time, that can prompt the customer to make a purchase, especially on impulse.    

Examples: Toronto , Ashton, Ottawa

For further information on any of our POS displays, get in touch!