How to Improve Your Checkout Counter and Customer Experience

When you’re running a brick-and-mortar store, the checkout counter is the land of opportunity. If you approach it strategically, you can boost sales and keep customers coming back. Considering the competition from online stores, it’s essential to optimise every aspect of the in-person retail shopping experience—especially the point-of-sale counter.

Why your checkout counter is critical

While checking out customers at your store counter might seem like the final phase of the purchasing journey, it can be just the beginning of your relationship with them. Creating a pleasant, engaging experience leaves a lasting impression that makes customers want to return—hopefully with the promise of future sales. And not only that, with the right retail display, you can generate last-minute sales, which can add up over time. Here are some more ideas to improve the customer experience while increasing sales.

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Optimising your checkout counter

Thanks to modern POS systems, brick-and-mortar retailers have increased flexibility when setting up their cash wells. Instead of being tethered to a traditional cash register, retailers can configure their checkout experience to meet customers’ need for the utmost convenience.

Efficiency and convenience are clearly of paramount importance in the checkout experience, but additional ideas to improve customer service experience at your store counter include:

  • Make sure you’re sufficiently staffed. You can have the best POS in the business, but if you’re not staffed appropriately, service suffers. Don’t make customers wait in line.
  • Hold associates to a high standard. Train your sales associates to be friendly and engaging, so customers have a pleasant experience (and want to come back).
  • Keep it entertaining. If you have the budget, try placing screens playing interesting content near the checkout counter to keep customers entertained. And use the screen time wisely—showcase your brand so customers can get to know you better. You can also try turning your checkout counter into a work of art. Display beautiful photos that are aligned with your brand or commission a mini mural. The idea is to give your customers something to enjoy during their short wait at the point-of-sale counter.
  • Share your story. While you’re showing your stuff on the big screen, take other opportunities to tell your story. This is a good way to make your brand memorable and build customer loyalty. Use your checkout counter space to share your identity through pictures, press, your website, or anything else that’s uniquely you.

How to increase sales at your checkout counter

You’ve tackled the ideas to improve customer experience, now let’s talk about sales:

  • Display eye-catching “impulse inventory” close to the register. Because customers at the checkout counter are already committed to making a purchase, they may be more inclined to spend a few extra dollars. Encourage impulse purchases by placing inexpensive novelty items near the checkout line.
  • Stock inexpensive “essentials.” As you’re stocking novelty items at the point-of-sale counter, add essentials, too. This can vary depending on your inventory, but think about your target customers and add everyday basics they may have forgotten. While you’re at it, include gift cards if you have them. People are always looking for gift ideas, and when in doubt, gift cards offer an easy solution.
  • Equip sales associates with upselling strategies. Whether you have a promotion running or you’re trying to drive sales for specific products, make sure your associates know about it. Then they can subtly upsell whenever possible. You don’t want them to come across as pushy, but if there’s a great two-for-one deal available, or another noteworthy promotion, they should be knowledgeable enough to share it with your customers.
  • Cultivate customer loyalty. If you haven’t already set up a free loyalty rewards program, you should. While enrolling shoppers in a loyalty program may not up your sales immediately, it’s a way to encourage repeat customers, which can lead to more sales down the road. Set up signage near your store counter that markets and explains the benefits of your loyalty program. Then, when customers are checking out, make it easy for them to sign up.

Why you need to choose the best point-of-sale system for you

Not all point of-sale systems are created equal. Fortunately, we’ve listened to the needs of our small business owners and have tailored store counter systems to meet the unique demands of different business types. Our Retail POS can help you track all your sales effortlessly from the store counter, and the Markets POS offers inventory management and access to analytics. The food service industry requires a point-of-sale system that can handle the front and back of house, and that’s why we developed the Restaurants POS and Coffee Shops POS to allow you to optimise floor plans and add modifiers to custom orders. And if you run a salon and need your stylists to ring up clients at special events or in your shop, our easy-to-use Salon & Beauty POS software can do that plus allow you to manage staff access to sensitive information in your Square Dashboard.

Convenience is key

By incorporating these store counter ideas, you can improve the customer experience, drive in-store sales, and build a loyal customer base. With Square POS, for example, you can pick and choose the hardware you need to process payments and facilitate faster checkout anywhere in the store. You can use hardware like Terminal or Stand at your checkout counter, but you can also speed up service by arming associates with mobile checkout options, such as Square Reader for iPhone, iPad, and Android. Square hardware lets you accept all payment types, including contactless payments, credit cards, cash, cheques, and gift cards.