3 essential ways to make the checkout experience better

Retail is generally an emotion-driven industry. In order to keep customers happy and loyal, retailers need to consistently promote positive emotion and reduce negative emotion at each and every touch-point in the customer’s shopping journey. Over the last few years, there has been a rise in investment and innovation, with efforts to improve nearly every aspect of the retail shopping journey. One of the most important and critical aspects of the overall shopping experience has been the checkout and even today many retailers are losing out on sales due to a poor checkout experience.

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Here are 3 tips on how to make the check-out experience better

Strike the right balance between data collection and checkout time
The point of sale is a great location and resource for data collection. However, while asking customers for details, too many questions can be a let-down, time consuming and will adversely affect the checkout experience. Having said that, retailers’ must not limit their insight potential at this important touch point in order to keep the line moving. Hence the right balance needs to be struck whereby there is no compromise on both fronts. Data collection and seamless checkout need not be mutually exclusive. Allowing customers to initiate the checkout process for a particular product on the retail brand’s mobile app when they get in line, or even when they enter the store, is one surefire technique that will improve the experience. Another good technique is allowing customers to finish their shopping and seeking their details at a later stage through digital mediums at their own convenience.

Use mobile POS to bust the queues
Another highly successful technique to improve the checkout experience at the store is using mobile POS (point-of-sale). A number of retailers have already used and reaped the benefits of mobile POS. The mobile POS is a powerful tool that will allow to drastically reduce the time per customer by scanning the products while the customer shops followed by billing, thus avoiding the need for customers to even enter the queue in cases where the payment mode is not cash. Thus retailers experiencing a higher number of footfalls at the store and more turnover or looking to handle large queues, especially during peak hours and shopping seasons, the mobile POS system is a definite savior. Also, mobile POS can be used as a tool to capture customer data on the go, consequently reducing wait times while billing. This will certainly improve the checkout experience at the store and prevent ‘lost sale’ situations.

Enable omni-channel integration for seamless operations
Focusing only on the store checkout experience in this day and age is just not enough. The checkout experience has to be seamless, convenient and fast, no matter which channel the customer decides to purchase from. And this can be achieved with the right omni-channel integration of previously disparate systems and processes. Having a truly omni-channel driven retail business will facilitate the seamless transfer of data regarding customers, products, inventory and so on, between the various systems including the point of sale system at the store. This enables auto population of customer data during thus negating the need to capture data during repeat purchases, or allows access to uniform product information such as pricing and availability across channels. Thus the customer can shop from wherever they want to, whenever they want to, quickly and seamlessly.

With the help of the right technology – a combination of both hardware and software, retailers can improve their business processes while creating better and seamless experiences at the time of checkout.

Enhancing the in-store checkout experience with a 3 pronged approach

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In-store customer experience is the most important factor to increase customer traction and loyalty. It is highly relevant to the current scenario of the retail industry where there is a constant tussle between the e-Commerce and brick-and-mortar players. As pure play online retailers are leaving no stone unturned to grab a large chunk of the market share, brick-and-mortar businesses are being asked all sort of questions regarding their survival or doom.

However big a pure play online retail business gets, it cannot take away the value of physical stores. Having said that, brick-and-mortar retailers cannot just continue doing business the old fashioned way, waiting to get bought or to get shut. They have to evolve their strategies and processes thus ensuring to stay fit and firm in the game. And to do this, the best weapon would be to enhance their customer experience.

While there are umpteen factors that play a role in creating a wholesome experience for shoppers and these need to be looked at meticulously, the in-store checkout experience could be rated higher in importance than many others. Also, providing the best check out experience in the store can pose a stiff challenge, especially during peak seasons and rush hours. But this can be simplified with the 3 pronged approach – the right people using the right technology to drive the processes right.

To elaborate, there are effective and exciting technologies that provide solutions such as mobile point-of-sale (POS), mobile payments, self-checkouts, quick billing to ease the billing process at the check-out counter. Most of these technologies enable automation of operations thus reducing the effort of manually done processes and increasing the speed of transaction. Mobile POS systems can easily help retail brands bust lengthy queues by enabling handheld devices to be used for scanning products, billing and even registering customers for customer relationship management. Moreover, this can be done when the customer is still picking up products and has not yet entered the checkout queue. Another revolutionary technology that has been a game-changer in the payments industry is ‘mobile payments’. This has not only speeded up payment processes by enabling payments through mobile phones or mobile wallets, but also has allowed customers to travel cashless and cardless, making it beneficial for both retailers and customers. Self-checkout counters have been a recent development and implemented by biggies like Amazon. This almost gets rid of the physical check-out counter by enabling shoppers to use their mobile apps for billing which could be integrated with mobile wallets or bank accounts to handle payments directly.

But what good are these solutions if the people that use them aren’t aware of the capabilities of the technology available at their disposal? Every new technology will firstly need acceptance from those who are going to use it, plus the right attitude to learn and use it efficiently. Further, the store staff may know how to use the software right but what if they are not helpful and easily approachable or don’t have the right inter-personal skills? So the right people with the right attitude who are well trained in all aspects and equipped with the right technology solutions can ensure that the operations and processes required to handle check-out are carried out the right way, with ease and with minimal complications. A win-win situation for both – customers who are provided with the right check-out experience and retail businesses who will have fewer lost sales.