5 Tips to Keep Checkout Lines Moving
What business owner doesn’t want to see large numbers of people queueing up to buy their goods? While long lineups may seem like a good thing, once a customer has decided to buy something, they don’t want to wait to pay for it.
According to an article in the New York Times, research has shown that when people wait in line, no matter how long it is, it always seems longer. Amazingly, people overestimate how long they’ve waited by approximately 36%!
When faced with a long line, it’s no secret that some time-stretched shoppers will simply shelve their intended purchase. Unfortunately, many won’t come back another day when it’s less busy – so any delay between a purchase decision and paying for that purchase gives customers an opportunity to go elsewhere or compare prices online. They may even place an order with an online retail outlet instead, where there is no such thing as a checkout line.
Accepting Interac® debit is super important too – Canadians favour this method of payment and over 60% of card payments in Canada are transacted using debit. If a customer has to leave the store to get cash, you’ve likely lost the sale – most people will find another place to spend it once they’ve got it or they’ll make their purchase somewhere else.
Large stores try to avoid long lineups by having numerous checkout counters. But that’s not always an option for small business owners and specialty retailers. So, how can you compete?
Here are five ways to keep your lineups moving and your customers happy.
- Make paying easy.
Will that be cash, debit or credit? Being ready to accept your customer’s preferred method of payment is essential. Make sure you can take chip and pin (who swipes anymore anyway?!). Accepting contactless payments like EMV cards that are tap-enabled or mobile wallets like Apple Pay also helps customers tap and go. It’s quick, secure and convenient!
- Get a point-of-sale (POS) system that is intuitive and easy to use.
You won’t waste time trying to figure out what buttons to push while customers still in line wonder what is taking so long! And, your staff can process sales quickly, keeping everyone happy and the lineup moving.
- Have multiple POS terminals.
Don’t be tied to a single device to process all your sales. Many smaller retailers may only have one or two checkout lines, but that doesn’t mean you can’t double up with additional POS terminals. If a customer is taking a bit of time to complete their transaction, you can start helping the next person in line with another POS terminal – even if another staff member isn’t available and you’re the only one processing sales.
- Don’t wait for the customer to come to you, go to them!
We’ve all seen it in restaurants where customers can pay right at their table – even when they don’t have cash. Why not do the same in your store? With mobile POS technology from Dream Payments, you can help a customer find what they want and close the sale then and there – from anywhere on the floor. Now that’s fast and efficient!
- While striving to make the wait as short as possible, give customers something to do while they are standing in line.
There are reasons that supermarkets display snacks and magazines with attention-grabbing headlines at the checkout. It’s not because they expect everyone to buy these items, though many people will grab a snack or read a story or two while they wait. So, why not profit if you can?
People tend to make impulse purchases when they are bored. Think strategically and place select “gotta have it” merchandise near the checkout counter. Items that your customers may have forgotten to pick up – like batteries, accessories or gift cards – are great to showcase in your checkout line. You don’t have to go far to see how this can pay off. Just check out Winners, Old Navy and Starbucks.
Free Wi-Fi can also be a tremendous help in keeping customers happy, though it does make it easier to compare prices.
So, keep those checkout lines moving! By combining speed with in-demand products, your customers will have no reason to abandon a purchase or search out your competitors. Plus, they’ll keep coming back and will be talking up the great service experience!