Nowadays, customers expect quick, quality service; and this includes the checkout process. Lengthy lines and long wait times are a serious cause for concern in retail, and there’s always at least one frustrated customer whose patience wears thin during the wait time. That’s a sale walking right out the door! Here are some ways to help speed up your checkout process in your retail store and keep your customers happy.
Upgrade Your Register
Are you still using the first register you ever had? Does it only accept cash and credit cards, freezes a lot, or is slow to process? Upgrading your POS system is one of the best ways to get your lines moving and keep that checkout process running smooth. Modern POS systems are sleek, quick, and come equipped with extra tools to help streamline other areas of your business as well.
A modern POS system will help make transactions quicker; with fast checkout times and easy-to-use terminals, your customers will be happy knowing that you’re using the latest technology to help make their lives (and yours) easier. Credit card transactions are quick, and with most terminals, you’ll be able to accept other methods like Apple Pay for an even quicker and more convenient experience for the customers.
Never underestimate the power of an upgraded register. You’ll also want a good customer service team behind your equipment, and if you’re using older models, you may not even have a tech support number to call in case of an issue! Use POS software for faster checkouts and more satisfied customers overall.
Rearrange the Store
Creating choke points is a bad idea in retail. This is where lines can get jammed up and tangled, making the checkout process that much more time-consuming. If you haven’t added express or self-checkout lanes yet, it’s probably a good time to consider doing so.
Pretty much any store you visit, whether it’s a retail or grocery store, has an express lane (or 3-5). This is normally for 10-12 items or less and helps to keep those lines moving when things start getting choked up. Smaller purchases are just as important as large ones, so it’s important to provide those customers with a specialized option to get through the lines quickly. After all, who wants to stand in line for 45 minutes just to purchase three items?
Self-checkout lanes are another item that’s quickly becoming the standard in retail. Major brands like Target and Wal Mart are already installing these machines in their stores, and they’ve actually been proven to help improve sales as well as checkout times.
Change Staffing Habits
A vital component of the checkout process is your staff. How they’re trained, when they’re scheduled, and how they interact with the customers plays a huge role in how long your checkout process is. Train your staff to be quick but thorough. Multi-tasking in the form of asking questions or engaging with customers at the same time as bagging/accepting payments is a must. You wouldn’t want employees to stop what they’re doing to have a conversation!
The time of day you schedule staff also helps in alleviating those long checkout lines. If you’re busiest during mid-day, then you’ll want to staff the most employees around that time to meet the demand of your customers. A POS system can help in this regard as well by tracking sales on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. You’ll get a good look at when your store is busiest, so you can staff appropriately and keep those lines moving.
Be sure to train staff to be courteous and kind to customers. An angry or dissatisfied customer is much more likely to hold up the line than one who just had an awesome customer service experience.
Many modern POS systems offer something called a mobile terminal. This allows you to take the checkout process to the sales floor, making it much quicker than waiting in line. You can have employees operating the register and a few walking the floor with mobile terminals to provide extra checkout options to your customers.
Mobile terminals are an excellent way to not only streamline the checkout process but also to cross-train employees and save a bit of money. If you can have employees both selling and checking out customers all at once, you’ll save the time and money associated with staffing extra people for separate jobs.
Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store
Yet another option that retailers are picking up on is the buy online, pickup in-store option. This makes the checkout process almost completely digital. The customer will purchase what they’re looking for on your website, then come into the store and pick up their bagged items. This helps keep lines moving, and makes checkout even more convenient for customers.
POS systems, better staffing, BOPIS, and store rearranging can all help your checkout process become more efficient. The better you are at keeping those lines moving, the happier the customers will be; and happy customers mean better sales and an increase in your customer service reputation.