Not unlike rap music lyrics, our produce language has many acronyms: f.o.b., DELD, LTL, DSD and so on.

POS materials can work, but only if used

Armand Lobato
The Produce Aisle

The acronym for point-of-sale (or point-of-purchase) is POS (and POP). This refers, of course, to the marketing material and signs provided by shippers and other organizations. The materials are designed to inform, educate and otherwise draw extra attention to a display.

More than anything, the POS is provided to help spur sales. Increased sales for the grocer mean more orders for the shipper. Call it a common benefit.

POS material is, in essence, a passive sales pitch to the consumer. The material, be it signs or posters, shouts the benefits the product offers. Sometimes the benefit is peak-of-season quality, nutrition, price, a coupon or a recipe or any combination of these. The materials generally work well.

Distribution of the POS materials goes smoothly — to a point.

The path goes something like this: The POS is sent from the shipper to the retailer’s warehouse or distributor. Then the POS packets are sent to the stores. The produce receiver places the packet near the produce manager’s desk for safekeeping.

And that’s where 90% of the packets remain — in the back room, collecting dust.

As a supervisor, I was pretty good at hunting down these packets that produce managers swore they never received. I usually found the elusive POS stuffed behind a desk or wet and unusable underneath the produce prep table.

We wanted our stores to use the POS material just as much as did the shippers — who paid good money to produce the high-graphic sales tools.

My advice to the produce crews was pretty simple: Keep an eye out for the POS and keep it safe.
Then assign management of the material to the person responsible for price changes and sign making. Most stores usually have one key person for this, which helps keep the process consistent and supplies tidy and make sure signs are applicable.

Nothing looks sillier than grapefruit POS above a banana display after things get moved around.

This sign person, directed by the produce manager, can best assess what POS material they wish to use and when. Usually the POS arrives in conjunction with planned ads or other promotions. If a big strawberry ad is hitting in a week or so, it’s best to hang the POS immediately after the display is built.

Equally important is the task of taking down outdated POS material. Rotate the new POS in and discard the old. If the old POS is still usable, you may wish to save and reuse for a future display. Above all, keep the POS neat and clean and fresh for customer’s eyes.

Just like you do with the produce.

Armand Lobato works for the Idaho Potato Commission. His 30 years of experience in the produce business span a range of foodservice and retail positions. E-mail

How do you utilize POS materials in your department? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion.