The customer’s checkout experience can make or break customers’ impressions of your retail store.
After all, checking out is the last thing customers do before they leave. If the checkout experience isn’t designed well, it can ruin an otherwise good impression.
Plus, checkout often presents the most opportunities for frustration during a store visit. Common stumbling blocks during checkout include long lines, awkward workflows, confused employees, and hardware malfunctions.
However, if you can execute an expert checkout process for your store, it will stand apart from competitors and keep customers coming back again and again.
For a good checkout experience, you’ll need well-trained, cheerful employees and a thoughtfully-designed checkout counter. But perhaps the biggest opportunity to improve the checkout process — the one that will make the biggest difference in checkout ease and speed — lies with your POS system. This is where the power of retail cloud integrators really comes into play.
Cloud-based point of sale systems can connect to staffing software and marketing software in unprecedented ways that make for the easiest and most pleasant checkout experiences possible.
Here are just a few of the ways that modern tools improve customers’ checkout experiences.
They help get staffing levels right
One of the most common causes of delays during checkout is understaffing. If there aren’t enough people on hand to process orders, a long line is inevitable.
State-of-the-art staff scheduling programs can integrate directly with POS software to estimate how many employees you should have on schedule at any given time of the day or week.
These integrators can use sales numbers from similar days in the past to gauge how many people will be necessary to keep checkout moving quickly. Some programs can even adjust the staffing estimates based on factors like the weather or special holidays.
HR programs also have features that make it less likely that an employee will cancel for their shift unexpectedly, leaving the store short-staffed. HR integrators like Deputy can start contacting qualified employees for a shift replacement as soon as an employee notifies that they won’t be able to make their scheduled shift.
They make it easy to open extra registers
Most modern POS systems run on tablets.
That means that opening a new register is as simple as powering on an additional tablet and clicking a few buttons.
It also often means that employees don’t have to stay behind the checkout counter. If it’s more convenient for your sales team, they can take their POS-software-loaded tablet and check customers out from any point in the store. For example, if a long line begins to form, an employee might choose to grab an additional tablet and offer to check out people who are paying by credit card from right where they’re standing.
They allow more purchasing options
Customers might be able to skip the checkout line entirely if they order and pay online. Most modern retail cloud integrators are fully equipped for omni-channel retail, which includes the ability for customers to ship their orders to the store or order online and pick up in-store instead of opting for shipping.
This feature can be especially convenient for customers who don’t want to spend the time navigating aisles looking for their favorite products, or those who are pressed for time and like to get their order lined up outside of regular business hours.
They get rid of paper (and the related headaches)
Put simply, paper receipts complicate the checkout process.
First, there are the extra worries about the physical equipment — whether or not the receipt printer will run out of paper or ink, for example, or require other maintenance. Even simply waiting for the paper to print out and handing it to the customer adds a few seconds to each transaction, which can really add up over the course of weeks and months.
New cloud integrators allow stores to give customers the option of getting receipts by email instead of in paper form. Stores can even collect signatures for credit card payments digitally via tablet instead of handing customers a paper to sign — which is another significant time-saving opportunity.
In fact, while they’re signing for the transaction, the customer can decide whether or not they want to receive a receipt by paper or email, or skip the receipts all together — all via the checkout tablet.
They make it quick and easy for customers to join loyalty programs
Asking customers to join your email list or keep in touch with you via email as they check out is a very valuable marketing opportunity that you don’t want to miss.
However, asking each of your customers these kinds of opt-in questions at the point of checkout can seriously slow down the checkout process. Plus, it can be awkward to ask customers to spell their names and personal information in clear earshot of everyone waiting behind them.
With modern point-of-sale systems, customers can quickly and privately type their email addresses and update their personal information quickly as the sales associate is completing their order.
They make checkout easier for staff
Modern point of sale systems do much more than the simple cash registers that were designed to simply calculate transactions and keep financial records.
Today’s cloud integrators make the checkout process more pleasant not just for customers (who will appreciate features like self-checkout, online ordering, and digital receipts) but also for the staff using the system.
Cloud integrators make checkout easier for both customers and employees.
For example, the workflows loaded into the software can take employees through common checkout scenarios step by step, reducing the odds that they’ll need to stop and ask for help. These workflows also make it difficult for employees to miss anything important during the checkout process.
When a POS system is easier for employees, checkout will run more smoothly. Plus, when new staff members can learn the ropes quickly, the business saves valuable money and onboarding energy.
The Bottom Line
Small business owners are smart to keep many of their expenses low. And at first, opting for cash registers instead of modern retail cloud integrators can seem like a big savings opportunity.
But investments in modern software pay off over time in things like better check-out speeds and improved customer experience.
If you’re considering investing in modern software at your store, we hope you reach out to us at Cloudscape Technologies. We’ll recommend, procure and install all the tools your frontline and back-office employees need to make sales and delight customers. To learn more about what we offer retailers, start here.