6 Ways to Speed Up Your Checkout Speed

It’s simple math: a faster line means more sales in a shorter period of time. And as we head into the holidays, checking people out quickly becomes increasingly important to keep your customer service at the highest standard possible. No one likes waiting — and especially during the frenzied holidays, people’s impatience levels are on overdrive. That’s why checkout speed is crucial. Here are some ways you can make sure you’re ringing people up as fast as possible, keeping that line moving, your customers smiling, and those sales flowing.

Get an intuitive point-of-sale system.

The first step is the most obvious: get set up with a POS system that’s as fast and easy to use as possible. You and your staff should be able to quickly enter and ring up even the most complicated orders from the system (we’re looking at you, half-caf, no-foam lattes with skim milk). With the Square Point of Sale app, you can quickly set up items on your smartphone or tablet, along with pictures so you can find them at a glance. And it’s easy to add on modifiers (like low-fat milk or no foam, for example).

Accept credit cards and new forms of payment.

Paying by cash is slow. There’s the potential for a lot of wallet fumbling on the customer end, and all that on-the-fly math to figure out the exact change on yours. Accepting credit cards moves your line a whole lot faster. Square’s card readers let you ring up credit card sales in seconds. And they make tipping is easy. Just swivel your Square Stand or hand your mobile device over to customers, where they can select a prepopulated tip amount and then sign for the transaction.

But if you want to move your line as quickly as possible, set yourself up to accept new payments technologies like Apple Pay. Contactless payments (like Apple Pay) are by far the fastest way to pay. (Check out our infographic comparing the checkout speed of Apple Pay versus cards and cash.) What’s more, Apple Pay transactions are much more secure than magnetic-stripe card transactions.

Send digital receipts.

When you have a line out the door, every second counts. And not only are paper receipts damaging to the environment, printing them can eat up time. Consider adopting a POS that has the ability to email customers receipts.

Train your staff.

You need to adequately train your staff before you put them behind the counter. Make sure they know exactly how to find and add items, take all forms of payment, send receipts, and issue refunds. You might even give them a friendly pop quiz by throwing a complicated order at them and seeing how fast they can ring you up.

Limit your assortment.

When it comes to the items you sell, sometimes having less is more. This is especially true if you’re a quick-service restaurant, as oftentimes people make purchasing decisions when they get up to the counter. Make the checkout counter as simple as possible for your customers by not overwhelming them with options. Minneapolis’ Hot Indian Foods, for example, found that having two formats for their food (a burrito and a bowl) was the sweet spot. Experiment with what works for your business, but a general rule of thumb is that it’s always better to have fewer quality items than a bunch of mediocre ones.

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