How Brick-and-Mortar Retailers Can Transform the Checkout Process
Checking out in retail stores as we know it is changing. No longer do you have to wait in long lines while an associate taps away at an outdated register. Amazon Go stores have completely eliminated check out lines, while Apple Pay has made transactions as quick as a tap of your phone. With these new options, consumers are becoming more accustomed to fast transactions, and it's imperative for brick-and-mortar stores to find solutions that improve their point-of-sale systems, processes and the customer experience. Here are a few ways retailers can deliver a seamless customer payment experience.
Make Employees ‘Roaming Checkout Lanes’
An increasingly common fix to brick-and-mortar inefficiency is the mobile POS system. Instead of having a single designated spot to process transactions, equip employees with tools such as iPhone or iPad POS adaptors that increase mobility and remove bottlenecks. Having the freedom to roam the store and bring checkout capabilities to a potential customer can reduce checkout time, increase impulse purchases, and make the overall experience easier and memorable.
After all, about 43 percent of consumers opt to shop online for convenience alone, so replicating that experience in-store is essential. Equipping employees with mobile solutions empowers them to assist and check out customers without a line, as well as to secure customers who may be in the midst of an impulse buy.
Streamline Stationary Systems
While mobile POS may be the future, stationary registers are still a necessity at brick-and-mortar stores. After all, employees can’t walk around with a full cash register in their pockets. For retailers that stick strictly to stationary solutions, there’s an area of opportunity here as well. When choosing a device, keep in mind that tablets (specifically iPads) are preferred among retailers due to their size, weight and versatility. To tap into the full potential of such devices, pairing them with appropriate hardware is imperative. Consider the entire checkout process. Does the customer have to provide a signature? If so, a swivel stand or dual-device stand would promise a more seamless experience than one that can’t face the customer.
In addition to implementing less conventional checkout methods to traditional register systems, retailers can leverage similar technology in other areas of the store. For example, digital kiosks can easily be set up with the right hardware and a tablet. While this may seem like a costly or cumbersome task, consider the types of people that frequent a store. There are people that are ready to buy, people who are looking at prices first, people that are simply browsing, and more.
With one stationary system at the front of the store that serves as a register, a stock-checker, a mode for ordering online and a way to confirm prices, lines can quickly back up with all types of customers waiting for the do-all POS. By having a register that serves the sole purpose of processing transactions and diverting other issues to service kiosks, lines and wait times will decrease dramatically for customers that are ready to purchase. Those in research mode will also enjoy access to technology that improves their experience without delay, and may therefore may be more likely to purchase.
Does your store hand out paper coupons and print out physical receipts? Approximately 90 percent of receipts end up in the trash. Offering digitized versions of traditional retail necessities (such as the emailed receipt) at the POS cuts down on time and waste during the checkout process, and can even cut down on time spent on returns if it comes to that.
Furthermore, consider ways to digitize other aspects of your retail store such as loyalty or rewards programs. Instead of requiring a physical loyalty card, roll out digital versions such as apps or mobile wallet options. These options are not only innovative, they’re actually more secure as well, oftentimes requiring passwords, fingerprints or facial recognition instead of a physical card — it’s a win-win.
In a retail environment that's constantly changing and continuing to move online, brick-and-mortar stores are being expected to compete in ways they may not have had to before. To get ahead of this curve, retailers should improve their POS systems by considering mobile options, streamlining stationary registers and digitizing everything possible.
Alon Tamir is the CEO of Studio Proper, a product design studio dedicated to simplifying everyday experiences with technology.
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Alon Tamir is a product, user interaction and experience design entrepreneur, specializing in agile hardware innovation. In 2010 Alon founded Studio Proper, a global design and strategy firm creating experience-centric Apple accessories for businesses and individuals. Studio Proper's work has been regularly recognized and recommended by USA Today, TechCrunch, Macworld, The Age, GigaOm, Gizmodo, ZDnet & Wired amongst other leading media.