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How To Create Retail Counter Displays That Inspire Purchases

How To Create Retail Counter Displays That Inspire Purchases

We probably don’t need to tell you that your checkout counter is a pivotal area of your retail store. After all, it’s the place where you transact customer purchases.

But there’s more to it than that. Done right, your checkout area can also increase awareness,  facilitate additional sales, and leave a great lasting impression with your shoppers. 

So why do so many retailers get it wrong? 

Read on to discover the do’s and dont’s of great retail counter displays:

What NOT to do with your retail Counter Display

1. Don’t treat it like a clearance aisle

 “If you are trying to move slow-sellers, the counter is not the place,” states The Retail Doctor. “There’s a reason they didn’t sell in the first place.”

Only display engaging, useful and reasonably priced products at your checkout counter. Otherwise, you’ll disrupt customer interest and lose out on additional sales.

2. Don’t confuse customers with your signage 

The Retail Doctor recalls waiting in line at an auto parts store and reading a sign at the register: “Need new windshield wipers?”

The problem was, the windshield wipers weren’t even by the sign, they were behind him, and he didn’t feel like losing his place in line to shop again. Needless to say, he was frustrated.

Now consider the photo below:

Image source: The Retail Doctor

This Christmas display features one simple product with a compelling sign right above it—no need to look elsewhere. It’s designed for customers to easily make a purchase decision at the counter—eliminating frustration—on their way out the door.

3. Don’t rely on your cashiers to sell counter items

Sure, you can use human interactions to boost your sales by scripting something for your cashiers to say like,  “Did you see that our batteries are 2 for $5 right now?” But what are the odds that they’ll actually use the script? And if they do, will their canned script convince the customer to buy?

You can help them out by creating awesome signage. So, in the case of the battery promotion, a sign that reads, “Make sure your flashlight works!” placed right above the most common-sized battery directly below it has a better chance at inspiring a purchase.

4. Don’t create a maze of impulse items to the checkout

While placing merchandise at your retail counter that sparks an impulse buy is a great idea, giving your customers a huge maze of products to choose from may have the opposite effect.

Avoid overwhelming consumers and forcing your cashiers to answer more product questions—which will slow down the checkout line. Visual merchandising is all about simplifying the purchase process. If you get the customer thinking again, that, too, slows down your line.

What you should DO for a great retail counter display 

1. Focus on ONE product

Have you ever noticed how luxury retailers often display items in standalone cases while discount stores overload their shelves with merchandise?

That’s because, in retail, space communicates value. A cluttered countertop with too many displays will reduce the product’s perceived value and overwhelm the customers ability to make a decision.

Instead, focus the customer’s consideration on one item (as in the photo above). “The lack of choice makes it an easy yes/no decision,” says The Retail Doctor

2. Make sure the featured product is something EVERYONE can use

As we’ve previously mentioned, your retail counter is a pivotal area of your store, providing another opportunity to increase your average sale amount with impulse purchases.

But that all depends on choosing the right products.

Make sure the items at your checkout display are small and easy to browse. If you sell clothing, for example, you could include accessories or makeup—often forgotten items that spark a need. The items should also be affordable (more on that below) and universally useful, no matter the age or gender.

These factors will increase the odds of people picking up your counter display items and adding them to their shopping carts. 

3. Keep the price point under $10

The items at your checkout counter should be affordable enough that customers don’t need to think over the decision to buy them.

As The Retail Doctor points out, “Most customers can drop a ten dollar bill without noticing.”

Whether you include eyeglass repair kits, lip balms, mini toothbrush kits or car chargers, you can test out different price points to see which ones deliver the best sales results. 

4. Change counter displays weekly to keep them fresh

When it comes to retail counter displays, “Timing is everything.”

A display of gloves, twine, and affordable gardening tools at a home store on the first nice weekend of spring would be a great way to catch the attention of gardeners.

Seasonal products are a great choice for your checkout because it makes it easy for you to switch out point-of-purchase displays regularly—a crucial strategy in keeping your displays fresh and encouraging impulse buys from repeat customers who’ve most likely seen your displays before.

5. Use Targeted Signage  

It goes without saying that it’s important to have signage throughout your store. But at your checkout area, it’s absolutely essential. This is where you have another opportunity to advertise impulse buys, and remind customers about sales or related products they may have forgotten.

Your signage should always be professional—you’re not going to entice anyone to spend more with a carelessly handwritten note. Use bright and/or bold colors to grab the attention of shoppers, as well as verbiage that creates a sense of urgency.

Image Sourcee: Slimline Warehouse

According to The Retail Doctor, it should only take about seven words to grab a customer’s interest.  And, as with all other signs, your goal is to paint a picture. Something like, “Spiced Almonds Make a Tasty Afternoon Snack!” is more tempting than a sign that simply reads “2 for $5.”

Final thoughts . . .

Retail counter displays, also referred to as Point of Purchase displays, can be one of the most underutilized tools in retail

That’s unfortunate, because “When you consider that some 70 percent of retail purchases aren’t decided until the customer actually is in the store, it’s clear what impact something as simple as a POP display can have,” says The Balance

In fact, The Retail Doctor points out that if only 10% of your customers add a $10 item to their transaction, your ROI is going to be fairly substantial.

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About The Author

Sherene Funk

Sherene Funk is the author of the contemporary romance Autumn in Your Arms and two small business e-books. She is a voracious reader who owns more books than she can ever read in this lifetime. A graduate of Brigham Young University, she worked in advertising for many years before moving to her current writing position at Rain Retail Software. She researches non-stop to see what successful retailers do and loves to share what she learns with small business owners.

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