7 Ways to Improve the Brick and Mortar Checkout Experience

For those of you who grew up in a time before digital took over the buying experience, you understand that waiting in line is a rite of passage into owning something new.  But, if you are one of the 89% of millennial shoppers who buy on your smartphone, the time waiting in line judging how people parent their kids around the candy racks is not a ritual you’ve grown to tolerate.

Today’s customers no longer appreciate the down time of waiting in line.

In fact, if you cannot keep your staff moving as quickly as your customers expect them to, you lose out to your online competitors.  So, what’s the secret to keeping the lines moving and the customers coming back?  The right POS system to improve the time it takes to checkout, along with quality customer service and skilled management to enhance it. 

Here are seven ways how you can do just that.

Invest in Customer Training

No matter how many benefits, discounts, loyalty programs, or incentives you offer your shoppers, if their experience in your store is not a positive one, they won’t come back. Period.

In fact, 59% of customers do not return to stores after a bad experience.  What that means to you is that you need to make sure that your employees know what they are doing when they are using your POS.  It’s frustrating to stand in line and wait while new workers try to click through the confusion.

Investing time in training workers on how correctly work any retail POS, grocery POS, or restaurant POS is crucial for the customer experience.  When your staff understands the nuances of your POS, the checkout experience has no chance of becoming a negative experience; thus, your customer retention probability remains secure.

Free Yourself from the Register

Now that you’ve given your customer an alternative option for checking out, and you’ve trained your staff to work your POS efficiently, it’s time to capitalize on the convenience of modern technology. 

Also, cloud-based mobile POS systems are much faster and much more streamlined than traditional registers.  Couple the speed with the fact mobile POS systems offer the expediency of emailed receipts, and you’ve just reduced time checking out as well. 

So a cloud-based POS will not only accelerate the checkout process, your commitment to  speeding up the checkout process is telling your customers, “We value your time, so we have found solutions to make sure we respect it.”

Scan with Poynt and Checkout with Android or PC Register with eHopper POS

Cloud-based POS systems make it possible for you to break free from the checkout counter and ring up sales from anywhere in your store.  A great solution for this is Poynt.  This mobile checkout solution offers a simple streamlined solution for keeping lines short. 

  • A touch screen for ringing up purchases.
  • A single and simplified card slot for both EMV and card readers.
  • Customer display for entering pin numbers and signatures.
  • Built in printer.

 All you have to do is stay mobile and check people out using either of the free platforms, Android or Windows, offered by eHopper POS.  

Not only is Poynt the perfect solution for your brick and mortar store, it’s the ideal solution for nontraditional businesses like food trucks or craft vendors.  Again, it’s mobility makes it convenient, and its cloud-based technology keeps the lines short and the shoppers happy.

The benefit to this approach is twofold.  First, the lines at the checkout are drastically reduced.  Second, you free up your register clerks to become customer service specialists.  They can answer questions customers have about products and help them find what they are looking for.  Remember, 70% of shoppers expect a personalized experience.

By improving the checkout experience, you are not only telling customers that you understand their time is valuable, but you are also providing them with real people to make their shopping experience easier and much more enjoyable.

Authorize Mobile Payment Processing

Whether you are using a retail POS, a mobile POS, or a traditional cash register, you need to offer the ease of mobile payment.  Experts predict that more than 1/3 of the population will be using mobile payment options by the year 2020 turning mobile payments into a $314 billion dollar industry.

As a business owner, this data is saying that in 3 years, 1/3 of your customers will not carry cash or credit cards.  They will expect you to take their Apple Pay or their Google Wallet. 

So, your customers are expecting this type of change.  The good news for you is mobile payments speed up check out times, and they eliminate the need for exchanging cash, swiping credit cards, or waiting for those EMV chips to process.

While this is just a few seconds for each customer, that time adds up.  To some, standing in a line for 30 seconds can feel like a lifetime, and if you reduce that wait time, you are helping to give your customers their time back.  Remember, 59% of buyers will not return if they are upset.

Take Advantage of Loyalty Cards or Loyalty Apps

Receipts and coupons are two of the most important part of the checkout process.  In fact, big box stores combine them to promote customer loyalty.  You know those coupons that come on the bottom of your receipts?  Well, they take time, and they send your customers off with a fist full of papers that often end up in the trash.  The results—your loyalty incentives getting trashed and you waste time in line. 

So, your receipt/loyalty program has caused an increase wait time and has literally trashed your incentive offers.  This is just the beginning of the trouble of paper in the checkout lines.

The other bane of many waiting customers’ existence is coupons.  No one wants to get in line behind the lady with all the coupons.  But, coupons create loyalty and drive customers back to the store, so you need them.  There are solutions—apps and loyalty cards.

Many of the big-time grocery retailers and big box stores are using their apps or loyalty cards to speed up the “must have” part of the checkout process. 

Customers simply load their coupons into their apps or cards, and a quick scan at the checkout counter takes all the coupons off the bill.  Then, that receipt coupled with the small forest of paper coupons is loaded back onto the app or card for the next visit.  No time consuming of loads of paper is necessary.

Time is saved, the process is streamlined, and everyone walks away with more time and more discounts.

Be Personal

Despite how much digital has simplified the shopping experience, there’s still an art to small talk.  When you are dealing with people, you need to master this art.  Take some time and ask some questions.

  • How are things going today?
  • Did you find everything OK?
  • What can we do to make your experience better?

The more you get to know your customers, the more personal you can make their experience. As a brick and mortar store, you have an edge in the shopping industry—a personal touch.  Marketers are vying for ways to make the online experience more personal. 

You don’t have do bang your head off a wall looking for creative ways—you actually have a person in front of you.  Make it personal. 

Here’s an example.  If you are ringing out someone who has a cart full of sunscreen, beach towels, and swim bags, ask, “Getting ready to enjoy the sun?”  Invite the small talk about where they are going, and share similar experiences. Then, the next time that customer comes back ask how it went.

It’s a small art, but it can open many doors to repeat business.  More importantly, it will make the checkout experience one that your customers enjoy rather than one that involves pacing and impatient, heavy sighs.

Schedule Smart

There is nothing more infuriating than standing in a long line waiting to check out while staring at closed registers.  If you run a brick and mortar establishment, scheduling is a crucial factor to its success.  Closed registers with longs lines equal angry shoppers.  Period.

One solution to this is to use the on-call system or changes the schedule at the last minute.  If you use this method, you also need a better solution.  These approaches make unhappy and frustrated workers, and that trickles down to the customer experience.  Make a schedule, commit to it, and jump in and help when necessary. 

It’s your job as the store manager to understand the peak times and slow times of your business.  It’s not your employees’ jobs to sit at home and wait for you to call if you get busy.

There are loads of software solutions out there that make understanding these trends simple.  In fact, with the right POS system, you can easily have access to all the information you need to create a schedule conducive to a positive customer experience. 

Take Away

If you want your brick and mortar store to meet the ever-changing needs of your customers, you need to adjust your mindset.  First, find the right POS and make sure that you train your staff to take full advantage of it.  Be certain that any retail POS system you use has cloud-based technology platform so that you are not chained to the checkout counter.

Do on underestimate the power of mobile apps.  Some customers like the ease of the DIY checkout approach.  Give them that option.

Lastly, remember technology is meant to expedite and simplify a process.  When customers shop at a brick and mortar store, they still expect a personal experience.  So, make sure you are scheduling the right people at the right times so that they can make those personal connections to create the relationships that create loyal customers.