The least enjoyable part of most shopping experiences is queuing to pay. Once customers have made their selections they want to get out of the store as quickly and easily as possible.
Some customers will even choose not to go to stores with long queues. In fact several retailers who cut the number of staffed checkouts to reduce costs have now reinstated them because their sales loses were greater than the cost savings.
One solution to reducing queue sizes is self service checkouts however the big problem with many self service checkouts is customer embarrassment. If something goes wrong with the process most customers automatically say sorry to a member of staff as if they had made a mistake. Customer should never be put in this position. The second problem is that there is often a queue at the self service checkouts too so they don’t always solve the initial customer problem.
Is technology the answer?
As well as self service checkouts many retailers are introducing technology for staff to take orders and payments on the shop floor in a similar way to Apple stores. This is proving quite successful but does have some limitations. The other approach under consideration is for some customers the most desirable of all. Being able to pay with their phone without any physical checkout or help from in-store staff. There are a number of ways that this can be achieved via apps, scanners and various contactless payment systems. It’s therefore important that in-store signage makes it very clear which options are available.
Retail is detail
As well as making the technology work it’s essential that information which needs to be scanned on shelf edge tickets such as bar codes and QR codes is clear accurate and compliant. It’s easy to overlook this vital part of the process but retail is detail. The final detail is to ensure that any tickets which have been lost or damaged can be replaced immediately. Customers who cannot use their preferred technology to shop due to missing tickets will not have much patience.
By the end of 2013 many major retailers will be offering alternative ways to pay in-stores and getting the final shelf edge details always correct has become a significantly more important priority.