Five minutes. That's all the time you have to move your customers through the checkout line before they abandon their purchases and leave your store, according to 70 percent of retailers surveyed by TimeTrade. Further, if your lines appear long, customers may take one look at the queue, decide they're not willing to wait and go somewhere else.
Your customers expect the checkout process to be simple and quick, and feel frustrated when lines are long. As your business grows and becomes more popular, it's important to take steps to maximize efficiency and keep your checkout lines short. Here are several ways you can use your point-of-sale system to move your customers through the checkout process faster.
1. Arm your sales associates with mobile POS units.
Connecting additional tablets or phones to your POS system can be an easy, cost-effective way to quickly check out more customers, without sacrificing precious square footage and purchasing countertop POS equipment to set up additional checkout stations. With POS tablets or phones in tow, your sales associates can approach customers in line and ring up their purchases. Or, after helping customers find products, associates can ring up purchases on the spot, sparing your customer from any wait at all.
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2. Forgo gathering customer contact data when lines are long.
Many POS systems allow you to gather contact information for your marketing efforts during the checkout process, but when your store is busy and you have customers waiting, it doesn't make sense to prolong the checkout process by gathering this data. Instead, train your cashiers to skip nonessential steps so they can ring up sales quickly and move customers through the checkout process efficiently. Consider that customers who receive prompt service are more likely to return to your store than those who languished in line.
3. Allow your customers to order and pay online for in-store pickup.
This option allows your customers to sidestep the traditional checkout process entirely, and helps you broaden your customer base by catering to individuals who prefer ecommerce shopping but don't want to wait for shipping. You'll need your POS system's inventory management tools to integrate with your online store in real time for this process to work, as customers will want to be sure that the items they purchase are in stock and ready for pickup before they visit your store. An additional benefit to implementing this option is that 30 percent of consumers purchase more items when they shop online and pick up their purchases.
4. Add self-service checkout kiosks to your store.
Although primarily used at big-box retailers and grocery stores, this technology is growing in popularity among smaller retailers as well because it allows a single sales associate to monitor several checkout stations. Customers have a favorable view of self-checkout kiosks and perceive them to be fast and convenient, particularly if they're purchasing a small number of items.
Keeping your customers' checkout wait time to a minimum is key to creating a positive experience that generates repeat business. These tips can help you move customers through the checkout process faster and, in some cases, eliminate wait time altogether. Additionally, by offering in-store pickup and self-service kiosks, you provide your customers with options, allowing them to choose the checkout method that is most convenient and comfortable for them.