The Evolution of POS and why it’s here to stay.

The term “Point of sale” is defined as the place at which a retail transaction is carried out. The first POS cash register was created in 1879 by James Ritty, a dealer in pure whiskeys, fine wines and cigars. He created it as means to keep track of transactions, as he felt he was being ripped off by his employees.

As technology has evolved, so too, has the point of sale. From computerised versions of the cash register,  to the introduction of barcode scanners that integrated with the stock inventory systems,  to mobile POS systems that are cloud based, and now, biometric scanners, are starting to infiltrate retail.  As the geographical location of the sale becomes less relevant, the term “Point of Sale” broadens to refer to all efforts that increase sales at the point of purchase.

Retailers have used their store layout to maximise displays and have merchandised shelving to attract the attention of consumers to the brands that they wish to promote. Then, in the lead up to the point of sale they often strategically place low cost items as a means to tempt consumers into an extra last minute purchase, which can easily be added to other purchases.

As with any marketing campaign, having a clear objective of what you want to achieve from your POS campaign is essential. Is it to showcase a new product? Or to sell excess stock, or to highlight a particular promotion? Or is it to just add that extra, low cost item to the sale?  Depending on your objective you can then assess the best possible position to promote this to the customer. You can also decide what restrictions, if any, will need to be adhered to? And how you can maximise impact with the display space available?

Increasingly, digital POS advertising, (DOOH) digital out of house marketing, is being used to capture consumers’ attention at the point of purchase. A study by Neilsen showed that 4 out of 5 brands using digital point of sale advertising experienced increased sales by as much as 33%.

Although there are many factors that influence an impulse purchase at the point of sale, effective advertising is undoubtedly a significant factor that plays a considerable role in the decision process. As technology and consumers’ habits change, the POS strategies will be adapted to make it a seamless, low barrier, conversion channel.

At FMI we work with the leading Irish retailers and we are experts in delivering results at the POS. Our team are continuously looking for new ways to engage customers at the POS. Should you be looking for a fresh perspective on your POS strategy, give our team a call.