Procurement for Point of Sale (POS) Items: Best Practices

Discover best practices for procuring Point of Sale (POS) items to boost sales and enhance customer experience. Learn strategies for effective procurement and supplier management.


The Procure 4 Marketing Team

7/22/20248 min read

a store with a variety of products and people
a store with a variety of products and people

Today, we’re diving into the procurement of Point of Sale (POS) items—a crucial component for driving sales and enhancing customer experience at the retail level. POS items include displays, signage, promotional materials, and other tools designed to capture consumer attention and encourage purchases at the point of sale. This post will explore best practices for procuring POS items, ensuring that your efforts are effective, efficient, and aligned with your overall marketing strategy.

Understanding the Importance of POS Items

Point of Sale (POS) items are crucial tools in the retail environment, serving multiple essential functions that drive customer engagement and sales. These items, ranging from displays and signage to promotional materials, are designed to attract attention and draw customers to specific products. By strategically placing POS items, retailers can highlight special offers, new products, or best-sellers, making it easier for customers to discover and consider them.

Attracting Attention: POS items are crafted to stand out, using bold visuals and strategic placements to catch the eye of shoppers. This immediate attention-grabbing capability is critical in a busy retail space where numerous products compete for consumer notice.

Conveying Product Information: Effective POS items provide essential product information succinctly. Whether it’s details about a new product, benefits of a specific item, or special promotional offers, clear and informative POS displays help customers make informed purchasing decisions quickly.

Encouraging Impulse Buys: One of the most significant impacts of POS items is their ability to encourage impulse purchases. By placing attractive and informative displays near checkout areas or in high-traffic zones, retailers can prompt customers to make spontaneous buying decisions, increasing the average transaction value.

Enhancing Brand Visibility and Reinforcing Marketing Messages: Well-designed POS items reinforce brand identity and marketing messages. Consistent use of brand colors, logos, and themes across POS materials strengthens brand recognition and loyalty, making your marketing campaigns more cohesive and effective.

Overall, POS items are instrumental in creating a compelling in-store experience that can significantly influence purchasing decisions, boost sales, and enhance brand visibility.

1. Defining Clear Objectives

Before initiating the procurement process, it’s essential to define the objectives of your POS items. Clear goals help guide your strategy and inform your interactions with suppliers.

Key Points:

  • Identify Primary Objectives: Boosting sales, enhancing brand visibility, improving customer experience, etc.

  • Determine Target Audience: Understand the demographics, preferences, and shopping behaviors of your customers.

  • Set Measurable KPIs: Define metrics such as sales uplift, customer engagement, and ROI to track the success of your POS items.

2. Selecting the Right Suppliers

Building strong relationships with reliable suppliers is crucial for the success of your POS procurement. These suppliers might include designers, manufacturers, and logistics providers.

Key Points:

  • Conduct Thorough Research: Identify reputable suppliers with experience in producing high-quality POS items.

  • Evaluate Suppliers: Assess potential suppliers based on their portfolio, reliability, cost-effectiveness, and ability to meet deadlines.

  • Capacity and Flexibility: Ensure suppliers can handle the scale of your project and adapt to any changes in requirements.

3. Creating an Effective Brief for Suppliers

Creating a comprehensive and detailed brief for suppliers is crucial in ensuring they understand your requirements and expectations. A well-crafted brief leads to better outcomes, fostering clear communication and minimizing misunderstandings. Here’s how to create an effective brief:

Project Overview: Start with a clear project overview that outlines the campaign’s objectives, the target audience, and key messages. Define what you aim to achieve with your POS items, whether it’s boosting sales, enhancing brand visibility, or improving the customer experience. Understanding the target audience’s demographics, preferences, and shopping behaviors will help suppliers tailor their work to meet these goals. Clearly articulate the key messages you want the POS items to convey, ensuring alignment with your overall marketing strategy.

Design Specifications: Provide detailed design specifications to guide the creative process. This includes dimensions, materials, colors, and design elements. Specify the exact sizes of the POS items, the types of materials to be used (e.g., cardboard, plastic, metal), and the color schemes that match your brand’s identity. Include any specific design elements, such as logos, images, and fonts. Clear design specifications ensure that the final product aligns with your vision and maintains brand consistency.

Quality Standards: Set clear quality standards for materials and production techniques. Define the level of durability and finish required, such as matte or gloss coatings, and any special treatments like UV protection or lamination. Quality standards help ensure that the POS items are not only visually appealing but also durable and fit for purpose, providing a consistent and professional appearance.

Timeline: Outline a clear schedule with milestones and deadlines. Provide a timeline that covers the entire production process, from initial design drafts to final delivery. Include key milestones, such as design approvals, prototype reviews, and production start dates. Clear deadlines help manage expectations and ensure that the project stays on track.

Budget: Include budget constraints and any cost-saving considerations. Specify the overall budget for the project and break it down into different components, such as design, production, and installation. Highlight any areas where cost savings are particularly important and encourage suppliers to propose cost-effective solutions without compromising quality.

Deliverables: List all required deliverables in detail. This includes prototypes, final products, and installation instructions. Clearly state the quantities needed for each item and the format in which they should be delivered. For example, you might require digital proofs for review, physical prototypes for approval, and final printed materials in specific quantities. Providing a comprehensive list of deliverables ensures that nothing is overlooked and that all materials are produced as needed.

By creating a thorough and detailed brief, you set clear expectations for your suppliers and provide them with the information they need to deliver high-quality results. This approach fosters better communication, reduces the risk of errors, and helps ensure the success of your POS campaign.

4. Negotiating Terms and Conditions

Effective negotiation ensures you get the best value for your investment while securing favorable terms with suppliers.

Key Points:

  • Understand Market Rates: Research market rates to set realistic budget expectations.

  • Volume Discounts: Negotiate for volume discounts or bundled services.

  • Contractual Terms: Clearly define terms regarding revisions, approvals, and delivery timelines.

  • Added Value: Seek added value opportunities such as additional services or extended warranties.

5. Managing the Production Process

Effective management of the production process is crucial for ensuring that your Point of Sale (POS) items are produced to the highest standards and delivered on time. Close collaboration with suppliers is essential to achieve these goals. Here’s how to manage the production process effectively:

Regular Communication: Maintaining regular contact with your suppliers is vital. Establish a communication plan that includes regular check-ins and updates. This consistent interaction helps you monitor the progress of the production, address any issues promptly, and make necessary adjustments in real time. Whether through emails, phone calls, or virtual meetings, clear and frequent communication keeps everyone on the same page and ensures that the project stays on track.

Quality Checks: Implementing quality checks at various stages of the production process is essential to ensure that the POS items meet your specifications and quality standards. Begin with an initial assessment of prototypes or samples to verify that they align with your design specifications. As production progresses, conduct periodic inspections to check for consistency and adherence to the agreed-upon standards. These quality checks help identify and rectify issues early, preventing costly mistakes and ensuring that the final products are of the highest quality.

Approvals: A streamlined approval process is crucial to avoid delays and ensure timely delivery. Set up clear guidelines for approvals at each stage of the production process, from initial designs to final proofs. Designate specific team members responsible for approvals and ensure they are available to provide prompt feedback. By establishing a clear and efficient approval process, you can prevent bottlenecks and keep the production timeline on schedule.

Contingency Plans: Despite careful planning, unexpected issues can arise during production. Developing contingency plans is a smart precaution to mitigate potential risks. Identify possible challenges, such as equipment failures, supply chain disruptions, or delays in delivery, and outline strategies to address these issues. This might involve having backup suppliers on standby, allocating extra time in the production schedule for unforeseen delays, or preparing alternative materials. Having these contingency plans in place ensures that you can quickly respond to any problems and minimize their impact on the overall project.

By focusing on these key aspects of managing the production process, you can ensure that your POS items are produced to high standards and delivered on time. Effective communication, rigorous quality checks, streamlined approvals, and robust contingency plans are all essential components of a successful production management strategy. These practices not only enhance the final output but also build stronger, more reliable relationships with your suppliers, setting the stage for future collaborations.

6. Installation and Implementation

Effective installation and implementation of Point of Sale (POS) items are crucial for maximizing their impact in the retail environment. Ensuring that POS items are strategically placed, correctly set up, and effectively utilized can significantly enhance their effectiveness and drive sales.

Site Surveys: Conducting thorough site surveys is the first step in the installation process. Site surveys help determine the most strategic locations for POS items within the retail space. Factors such as customer traffic flow, visibility, and accessibility should be considered. By understanding the layout and dynamics of the store, you can identify high-traffic areas where POS items will have the greatest impact, such as near entrances, at checkout counters, or along aisles with complementary products.

Installation Instructions: Providing clear and detailed installation instructions is essential to ensure that POS items are placed and set up correctly. Instructions should include step-by-step guidance on how to assemble and position the items, as well as any necessary tools or equipment. Visual aids, such as diagrams or photos, can be particularly helpful. Clear instructions minimize the risk of errors during installation and ensure that POS items are displayed as intended, enhancing their effectiveness.

Training: Training store staff on the importance and proper use of POS items is critical. Staff should understand how POS items contribute to the overall customer experience and sales strategy. Training should cover the correct placement and maintenance of POS items, as well as how to interact with customers using these displays. For example, staff can be trained to highlight promotional items or provide additional information about featured products. Well-informed staff can help maximize the impact of POS items by engaging with customers and reinforcing the marketing messages.

Monitoring: Monitoring the performance of POS items is essential for ensuring their ongoing effectiveness. Regularly check the condition and placement of POS items to ensure they remain attractive and functional. Gather feedback from store staff and customers to identify any issues or opportunities for improvement. Use sales data and customer engagement metrics to assess the impact of POS items on sales and customer behavior. Based on this feedback, make necessary adjustments to optimize the performance of POS items. This might involve repositioning items, updating promotional content, or replacing worn-out displays.

By focusing on these key aspects of installation and implementation, you can ensure that your POS items are effectively integrated into the retail environment, maximizing their impact and contributing to the success of your marketing efforts. Proper site surveys, clear installation instructions, comprehensive training, and ongoing monitoring are all essential components of a successful POS strategy. These practices not only enhance the effectiveness of POS items but also build a more engaging and dynamic shopping experience for customers.

7. Measuring and Evaluating Success

Post-implementation evaluation helps you understand the effectiveness of your POS items and informs future strategies.

Key Points:

  • Track Performance: Use sales data, customer feedback, and engagement metrics to evaluate performance.

  • Analyze ROI: Compare the cost of POS items with the sales uplift to calculate ROI.

  • Feedback Loop: Collect feedback from store staff and customers to identify areas for improvement.

  • Continuous Improvement: Use insights gained to refine your POS procurement strategy and improve future campaigns.

8. Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility

Incorporating sustainability into your POS procurement can enhance your brand’s reputation and align with corporate social responsibility (CSR) goals.

Key Points:

  • Sustainable Materials: Choose eco-friendly materials and production processes.

  • Supplier Practices: Work with suppliers who follow sustainable practices.

  • Recyclability: Ensure POS items are recyclable or reusable.

  • Communicate Efforts: Highlight your sustainability efforts in marketing materials.

Procurement for POS items involve a strategic approach that covers everything from defining objectives and selecting suppliers to managing production and evaluating success. By focusing on these best practices, marketing procurement professionals can ensure their POS items are impactful, cost-effective, and aligned with broader marketing strategies.

POS items remain a vital component of the retail marketing mix, offering a tangible way to engage customers and drive sales. By applying the insights from this post, you can navigate the complexities of POS procurement with confidence, ensuring your campaigns are successful and your investments are well spent.

As always, staying informed about industry trends and continuously refining your strategies will be crucial for maintaining a competitive edge. Happy procuring, and here’s to the continued success of your POS campaigns!