How to Best Use P.O.P. Effectively

How to Best Use P.O.P. Effectively

How to Best Use P.O.P. Effectively


by Alice Ahearn


Point of Purchase (P.O.P.) signage is a very effective tool for marketing your carwash, but some simple guidelines will make your advertising and marketing dollar stretch a little further. Before starting your marketing project, take some time to establish a realistic budget. Advertising and marketing are essential to increasing traffic at your wash and drive revenue. If you know the financial picture for your site, you will be able to determine the effect of the marketing campaign and build on it for the future. Establish a good, better, best budget for the signage. Your signage company or carwash sales rep should be able to help you with that by giving you prices and options to fit your wash and optimize your budget.

The next step is deciding what your message will be. Are you running an unlimited wash club program? Are you trying to entice customers to upgrade to the top wash? Do you have a gas discount program in place? Knowing what message you want to convey to your customer will help you and your sales rep decide what signage will work best for you.

Divide your carwash up into customer traffic areas. First plan would be to bring them in off the street. How will they know you’re there unless you tell them? Maybe you have a decently sized permanent sign that announces your presence but curb signage can also catch driver’s attention.


These move in the wind and the combination of the movement and the height (9-13’ high) help to draw drivers to your wash.


These versatile signs can be very effective. The frame has two antennas that slide into the fluted coroplast of the sign to mount the sign to the frame. The frame has springs so it also moves a bit with the wind. This sign can be customized both in design and shape to help attract customers. Depending on the area where the sign will be visible, you can choose from a single or double sided sign and even a three-dimensional version.

Once the customer is on the site, use your marketing campaign to drive revenue. There are many ways to use your promotional signage to entice customers to spend additional money at your wash.


If your wash has windows, use them to advertise your promotions. You can choose from perforated vinyl so you retain visibility from inside the wash or standard vinyl if visibility isn’t a concern.


Use your safety bollards to advertise your wash. These are typically three-sided coroplast signs that cover the bollard so they can be seen from many angles.


If your wash has a gate at the entrance, hang a banner or tie-wrap a sign onto it to encourage your customers to purchase your chosen promotion.


Use your chemical drums as marketing resources! You can choose from a drum cover that slides over your chemical drum or a drum wrap that wraps around the outside of the drum and leaves the top of the drum (or trash can) uncovered.


If your site has light poles, banners can be mounted on both sides to advertise your wash or wash promotion


While antenna windmasters can certainly be used around the site as well, standard windmasters offer the versatility of replacing the inserts (two fit in each frame) fairly inexpensively which makes changing your promotion easy without blowing out your budget.


Using your traffic cones to market your wash is a great way to stretch your marketing dollars. There are several varieties of cone signage: corrugated plastic signs that attach to the cone, sleeves that slip over the cone (good for covering up well-worn cones too), full color decals that mount directly onto the cone and simple one-color logos screen printed onto the cone.

If your location has a convenience store on site, there are many options available to you for advertising your wash inside the store.


Also referred to as cashier mats, these can be found on the counter at the cash register. They can be used to display your carwash menu or any special promotion you are running. This sign is literally at the point of purchase so another nudge toward your carwash is a great idea.


Hanging signs can vary from simple three-sided mobiles above the cash register to bigger, more substantial and permanent signage that hangs from the ceiling. Again, having a realistic budget in mind will help you decide what would be most effective for your carwash.

If your site is a petrol site, using the space at the gas pump to advertise your wash or promotion is money well spent. Customers typically are pumping gas for several minutes and you can capitalize on their attention while at the gas pump with some simple signage.


Pump topper signs can go on top or on the sides of the gas pump. There are many varieties of pump topperswith a frame, frameless or even pump decals that mount onto the front of the pump itself. One thing to consider here is visibility. If you choose to use pump toppers, be sure to put the signs where your customer is sure to see them. Whether you choose the top or the sides of the pump, make sure the sign is as close to the edge to ensure customers of varying heights can see it.

Now that you have your budget and your financial picture in front of you and you know your signage options, decide where you want to spend your money. Which customer area should get your good budget money, which should get your better budget money and which area deserves your best budget money? If your permanent curb sign is doing a good job of attracting customers, then spend your good money budget on curb signage. Perhaps adding a teardrop flag near your permanent site sign to add a little pop is all you need. If you don’t have a convenience store or gas pumps, then maybe you combine your better and best budget money on the signs around the site. Covering traffic cones, safety bollards and chemical drums go a long way towards dressing up your site and creating a cohesive marketing message. Combine that with a few well-placed standard or antenna windmasters to announce your message loud and clear.

One last tip is to remember that your marketing tools work like an additional sales person on your site; selling your products and promoting your carwash. Work with a graphic designer to make sure your “sales person” has the right message and appearance as well as the perfect location. 

Alice Ahearn works at Ahearn Signs, Inc. in Belleville, Michigan. Ahearn Signs, Inc is a family owned company that has been in the carwash signage business for over 29 years. Website:

Phone: 734-699-3777   Email:

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