What Is The Future of Checkout?
When you visit a retail store, chances are that you’ve passed through a self-checkout line at some point. You scan each of your items, bag them, and pay without the help of a cashier. a fairly simple straightforward concept, right?
As it seems, self-checkout lines were just the primary step in what has become a significant technology-based revolution in the way that shoppers pay in brick-and-mortar retail environments. But self-checkout is simply one evolution within the payment process. There’s no shortage of the latest tech solutions working to create the retail experience as painless as possible.
It’s no wonder retailers are trying to innovate the checkout process — customers consistently report that creating a sale is the most painful part of the shopping experience. Although over two-thirds of individuals still choose to shop in-store, more than 70% of surveyed consumers said the checkout experience is their biggest pain point. Long lines and lengthy wait times at checkout are major reasons that some customers have turned to online shopping.
But some brands are taking a crack at making the checkout process less painful. From self-checkout kiosks to mobile point-of-sale systems to eliminating checkout altogether, retailers are hustling to keep customers happy and encourage more sales in-store.
Eliminating Long Checkout Lines
Even in its traditional form, the waiting line as we all know it’s been dying for some time. The widespread use of contactless pay has been slowly eroding customer waiting times since its introduction in the late aughts.
Mobile payment is an alternative choice on the rise. It uses near field communication (NFC) or Bluetooth technology to permit customers to pay — as the name implies — using their mobile phones.
To further decrease time spent in traditional checkout lines, many retailers are going paperless. And one amongst the first ways retailers are eliminating paper is to email receipts to customers instead of offering a paper copy at checkout. Not only does this save time (no expecting receipts to print), but it also makes it easier to pull up returns and track purchases for patrons over time.
The paperless system also has the additional advantage of reducing the time that shop owners spend on paperwork and eliminates any budget spent on paper for receipt rolls.
With the proliferation of tablet-based point-of-sale systems like Oscar POS, it’s now possible to arm every retail employee with the ability to check out customers anywhere in your store. Digital software can transform smartphones and tablets into a POS, which implies there’s no need for a stationary checkout area.
Not only does this system disperse lineups by stationing mobile POS systems throughout your store, but it also helps employees offer a more informed customer experience. With information about product specs and current stock at their fingertips, employees are better equipped to answer any customer questions at checkout. And without the added burden of an extended line of impatient customers, staff can take the time to thoughtfully talk customers through their purchases.
So, rather than the customer waiting in multiple lines around the store or seeking out different staff to find out about an item or check on their appointment status, the dispersed POS approach allows one employee to take customers through their entire retail journey. As a contented side effect, they’re also avoiding the frantic energy related to long lineups concentrated in one area of the shop .
Skipping The Queue Altogether
So far, we’ve looked at some modern takes on the standard checkout counter, but what if the queue wasn’t even an option? That’s exactly what some companies are beginning to experiment with.
Several retailers are pioneering this approach employing a variety of technology. Removing the standard checkout experience might be a game changer for both retailers and their customers. And here are a couple of key samples of tools retailers are using to revolutionize checkout.
When Online and Offline Merge
One trend that’s merging the brick-and-mortar experience with the convenience of online shopping is “showrooming.” Essentially, customers come to a store to check out merchandise and acquire a feel for it offline, and so place an order for it online.
While this is often a trend that’s worried some physical retailers, showrooming can benefit both customers and brands. It’s the right blend of the online and offline shopping worlds.
This showrooming model helps retailers that can’t afford to hire out a large space to accommodate a full store’s worth of inventory. This way, they can boast their goods in a small space, take full advantage of pedestrian traffic , and still garner the sales benefits of a full-sized brick-and-mortar retail operation. And showrooming allows customers to have an immersive shopping experience and have products shipped straight to their doorstep.
While a number of the foremost tech-heavy options won’t be right for each merchant, there are simple ways retailers can incorporate tech solutions to leap on the revolution to kill the checkout line. Implementing contactless payments, going paperless, and floating POS systems are great starting points for any business.