One thing that’s absolutely certain when it comes to running a retail operation is that customers hate waiting in long lines. This is especially true during the Coronavirus social distancing guidelines, when people prefer not to stand too closely to one another.
The checkout process should be short, simple, and efficient. If your customers have to wait in line for more than just a few minutes, it’s time to take a closer look at why your checkout process isn’t working.
It could be that you’re just lacking the right tools, your employees need better training, or your store needs rearranging. Here, we’ll take a look at some common checkout problems and their solutions.
Use a POS System
POS systems are abundant in today’s markets, and for good reason. These simple but powerful modern business tools can help transform so much more than just your checkout process. From better inventory management to improved customer relationships and greater awareness, POS software and checkout speed are linked.
Better Inventory Management
One of the most important features of a POS system is its ability to help track and manage inventory in real-time. Don’t get stuck in the past by manually tracking inventory and struggling with outdated inventory software. With real-time tracking, you won’t have to worry about customers getting stuck at the registers asking if their favorite products are available.
POS systems can process payments very quickly, which speeds up the entire checkout process and makes everyone happy. Not to mention, they can accept dozens of payment methods, from credit and debit cards to cash and even touchless payments.
You can also collect customer information at the checkout counter, which makes for better service later on.
POS systems have a unique advantage over static registers; they’re often mobile. Operating on mobile devices, your POS software can go with you on the sales floor, and yes, you can perform a checkout on the floor!
If you’re processing payments directly on the sales floor, you’re getting customers checked out as soon as they’re ready, potentially saving a few minutes.
Rearrange Your Checkout
Sometimes, the problem with the checkout process is simply how the store is set up. Making your store more organized can help improve checkout times. If your store is crowded and the registers are located behind a maze of impulse-buy products, you’re likely setting yourself up for longer checkout times.
Simplify your set up in order to maximize your space and improve the overall efficiency of your checkout process.
Use the BOPIS System
Using BOPIS (buy online, pickup in-store) is a great way to reduce your checkout time. Customers can buy any of your in-store products on your website and have them waiting at the checkout counter when they arrive. Since the product is already paid for, you’re skipping 2/3rds of the checkout process!
If you’re going to start using the BOPIS system, ensuring you have good inventory management software is the key to a successful transition. You want your inventory management software to accurately track inventory being purchased from the store via your website, as a mix-up could cause all kinds of problems with your inventory counts.
Your staff are on the frontlines of customer service and are crucial to the efficiency of your checkout process. If your staff isn’t trained properly, checkouts can take up to twice as long to complete, leaving everyone frustrated and the customer dissatisfied.
If you find your employees are struggling at the checkout counter, it’s time to enact some better training practices. Train employees to be polite and courteous, but also to keep things moving along; especially when the store is at its busiest.
Remind your employees that customers don’t appreciate long wait times and that problems should be addressed ASAP.
Email Your Receipts
A great way to reduce your business’s checkout wait times and your carbon footprint is by using email receipts instead of printed ones. The receipt will still look the same and serve the same purpose, but you won’t be paying for paper and ink to print receipts, and you’ll increase your checkout efficiency and reduce wait times. Those extra 30 seconds it takes to print a receipt can add up throughout the day!
The maintenance and ink/paper costs also add up over the months, costing your business thousands per year. With one simple change, you cand save money, increase efficiency and speed, and make your customers that much happier.
Speeding up your checkout process only serves to benefit the business and the customer in the long run. This should be the focus of any retail or sales operation, as long lines often cause customers to either walk out of the store or not come back at all. Consider the switch to a modern POS system if you’re looking to upgrade more than just your checkout process!