Americans spend 37 billion hours a year waiting in line, according to The New York Times. Time spent waiting to make a purchase may play an important role in customer perception of their overall experience. Updating your cash register technology and techniques can cut down on the bottleneck effect in business and improve customer satisfaction.
Use a Modern POS System
The familiar “ka-ching!” of a cash register may soon become a thing of the past. POS systems that run on a computer or mobile device tend to run faster than traditional registers. Older models may not be well-equipped to process chip cards quickly, which is a pain point for 87 percent of credit card users.
Old-fashioned registers force customers to gather in one place to make a purchase. The same study found that 37 percent of customers ranked waiting in line as their main frustration at stores. If your cashiers often have to wait to check customers out because your credit card terminal cannot communicate with multiple computers, consider a Smart Terminal that can be leveraged by multiple cashiers during checkout to reduce wait times.
Sure, you’ll lose the nostalgic “ka-ching!” sound, but you can always hang a shop bell and enjoy the jingling as customers return for another visit, and more speedy service.
In a traditional transaction, the receipt exchange might go something like this:
- Cashier announces total and hits the print button
- Cashier and customer watch machine together as it spits out the receipt
- Cashier rips receipt and hands it to customer
- Customer fumbles for a pen
- Cashier realizes customer hasn’t noticed the cup full of pens on the counter and points it out
- Customer takes pen, tests it, checks which is the customer versus merchant copy, and signs
- Cashier takes signed receipt
- Customer puts receipt in pocket or purse before collecting items and (finally) finishing the transaction
Heaven forbid there should be a paper jam or a few dry pens in the cup! Compare this to a paperless transaction:
- Cashier announces total
- Customer signs electronic pad with the attached stylus
- Customer enters email address and selects electronic receipt option
If your POS system saves customer email information, step three might be eliminated for future transactions. PayJunction, for instance, offers paperless financial software that streamlines this checkout process. Email addresses, along with payment methods, are saved to the customer profile for fast checkout. All cardholder data is tokenized under PCI Level 1 compliant security standards.
Store Supplies Strategically
The bottleneck effect in business may arise when new circumstances, like customer traffic or bonus services, complicate a standard transaction. If multiple new factors coincide, look out — it may be easier than ever for lines to get out of hand.
Take the holiday season as one example. You may expect extra traffic from customers purchasing gifts. Meanwhile, your store’s special gift-wrapping service adds several minutes to each transaction.
Hiring seasonal help could address part of the problem (as long as you had enough registers to open). But customers lingering by the register for their wrapped purchases while an associate runs to the back for more ribbon can stall progress. Your better bet might be to set up a separate gift-wrapping booth, or at least make sure the wrapping paper, tape and ribbons are stocked at arm’s reach.
Think Outside the Wallet
Cash, check or card don’t cover all of a customer’s payment options anymore. Android Pay, Apple Pay and Google Wallet have expanded the field considerably. About 72 percent of millennials and Gen X consumers, and 44 percent of U.S. consumers overall, have used mobile payments, according to The Pew Charitable Trusts. Making it easy for customers to pay via their preferred method can speed up transactions.
Check in with customers to learn what mobile payment options your target market prefers. If you have the demand to justify it, opening a mobile pay express lane or obtaining a terminal with NFC technology may streamline the experience for customers who don’t want to wait behind someone fumbling with cash.
How do you keep customers happy while waiting for the next register? Share your tricks for keeping the line moving!