Is your point of sale communication as effective as you’d like?

Posted by Sapien Team - 07 March, 2023

Point of sale (POS) signage and displays are some of the most important in-store advertising a business can have; they act as a crucial influencer at the actual point of purchase. 

The problem is, it’s often difficult to validate how effective different versions are. Retailers, brand and shopper marketers can easily pour investment into versions that don’t actually do the job they intend, wasting the hard-earned engagement opportunity.

A UK study of 7 million shopper interactions found that most supermarket shopping is done on autopilot. Point of sale displays, if they are present, are often ignored—except when they’re not. The study found that when a display grabs our attention, our brains switch from auto to manual mode. The time a display has to catch a shopper’s attention? 0.9 seconds.

While we can’t apply this as a blanket rule across all retail categories, it does emphasise the fleeting opportunity POS has to engage a customer. The length of time to grab a shopper’s attention varies depending on retail category, shopping environment, and the shopper’s mission. For example, POS about buying milk (a short-term, low-cost, low-consideration investment) versus buying a new bike (long-term, high-cost and high-consideration) will have different time allowances. But it’s still not long.

The key message needs to be absorbed in 3 seconds at most, according to our in-house experts.


Why measure POS displays?

What is successful in one store isn’t always successful in another. Several variables are often at play, including the category you operate in and the type of customer you’re appealling to. Unfortunately, these variations mean that it’s not a simple matter of following POS display best practice to get results, which is why businesses often seek out ways to assess and test their POS effectiveness.

Measuring the effectiveness of POS often comes down to two key objectives:

  • Understand what store elements are influencing customer behaviour.
  • Determine the return on investment of POS displays.

At Sapien, some of the detail we’ve explored within these big buckets includes helping businesses to further understand and improve:

  • How customers use the in-store navigation.
  • How customers experience the store’s brand and atmosphere cues.
  • Ways of talking about prices, sales, and discounts—and which approaches are more effective in individual store environments.
  • Store setup and layout, such as optimising store layout to increase or decrease the speed at which customers move through a store.
  • On-shelf and aisle end displays—are they engaging customers? How are they changing behaviour?
  • The optimal creative of displays by A/B testing different versions.

Sapien Insights Help Spark Shake Up Retail Experiences READ MORE

What do I measure to assess POS effectiveness?

There are four key aspects to consider when assessing POS displays and marketing.

  1. Does the display(s) catch customers’ attention?

This is done by assessing the number of shoppers who look at the display versus those who don’t. As mentioned before, what constitutes “attention grabbing” will vary from store to store.

  1. To what extent does it engage customers?

For example, did customers interact with the display or the product? Do they linger before the display or show signs of consideration such as comparing products or brands?

  1. Did they purchase/convert?

How many customers’ bought the product after engaging with the POS display? How many engaged but didn’t purchase?

  1. What was their emotional reaction?

What it positive or negative? Persuaded or confused?


How to measure POS displays?

There are a variety of ways to assess your POS effectiveness depending on your budget and desired outcomes, but a few that the Sapien team most commonly use are:

  • Eye tracking. Customers wear a specialised eye-tracking device during their shop. This device follows the movement of the customer’s eyes and captures how they engage with different store elements, from navigational cues to what elements of a POS display draws their focus.
  • One-on-one interview. These are particularly useful to weed out the false positives after an accompanied shop or eye tracking. For example, a customer might appear to show interest in a display, however, an interview may reveal that something in the display confused the customer, hence the reason they paused.
  • Accompanied shops. In this exercise, a trained researcher accompanies a customer through their shop and notes down the customer’s interactions with POS displays.
  • Facial action coding (FAC). When placed on the shelf, this technology reads subtle facial movements to reveal customers’ engagement and emotional responses to products and advertising. Important note: facial action coding is not facial recognition; FAC cannot identify people.
  • Codifying observational footage. This approach uses in-store cameras to record movement through a store. The information is then coded into heat maps, allowing retailers to see how customers navigate and flow through the store as well as the hot and cold spots that have high and low engagement. This also enables foot traffic counting; the tracking of customers coming into your store to help you understand your conversion rate, which can reveal the effectiveness of your instore communications.

Assessing the performance of your POS doesn’t have to be difficult. With the right technology and know-how, you can fine tune your point of sale displays to engage customers with the right message in the right place to maximise sales

If you’d like to know more about testing POS effectiveness, get in touch with us.

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Topics: POS Effectiveness