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Love your checkout

The US spends over $18bn on it, the UK adds another £1bn to the pot and over in France, Italy and Spain, the average consumer will each spend the equivalent of £110 on it.

It’s February and, of course, we’re talking about Valentine’s Day – a date that is widely viewed as the second largest celebration in the retailing calendar year (after Christmas).

Whether the current retailing climate has got you in the in the mood for hearts and flowers or not, the approach of February 14th is surely an opportunity to boost sales on the high street – particularly if you happen to stock anything along the lines of jewellery, cards, flowers or confectionary!

With the public all fired up to splash out on loved ones (including partners, friends, family members and even pets), we can’t help but bring a Goodtill spin to this affair with a question for our retailing friends:

When exactly was the last time you gave your checkout a bit of TLC?

While the purpose of a checkout is literally to bring in the money, have you thought about how this area of your store might also contribute to the retailing experience you provide for customers and so impact sales? Or how it might be integral to your brand or correlate with your social media presence?

Here are four ways to make the most of your checkout, all of which we think are easy to achieve:

1. Encourage impulse buys

As a bricks-and-mortar store, encouraging impulse buys is one of the best means of achieving an upsell. Those waiting in line to pay are normally committed to making their purchase so positioning some small, easy ‘add-on’ products at the checkout can help to boost the average transaction value.

With Valentine’s approaching, you’ll most likely want to think about anything that fits the love theme – generally meaning items that are red, heart-shaped or patterned, involve flowers or are made of chocolate! While it’s fine to offer a few products outside the norm of your core merchandise (e.g. Valentine’s themed beauty products in a clothing store), be careful not to go too far off brand. Being seen as ‘jumping on a bandwagon’ may do nothing but lose you some of your regular clientele.

2. Create an ambience

Like any other part of the store, your checkout should play its part in creating an ambience that fits your customer demographic. Whether you’re going for a subtly sophisticated or big, bright and bold look, think about how your checkout contributes to this. Your choice of lighting, fixtures/ fittings, TV screens or even plants can all make a difference in whether the checkout is attractive or repellent to your ideal customers.

If you have any kind of digital display, on Valentine’s Day you may want to use it to display your latest offers or bundles or even to post some ‘love is in the air’ themed messages or visual graphics to your customers – time to get creative!

While we’re talking technology, is the POS system you’re using adding or distracting from the overall ambience at checkout? While a retailer selling vintage products might decide the old clunky till is a good fit, for most modern stores, the sleek, stylish features of a compact iPad-based system are hard to beat. Not only does such a till help to create the look you’re aiming for, but its enhanced functionality and payment integration tools also ensure transactions are handled quickly and efficiently – giving every customer a strong lasting impression.

3. Get social

In 2019, it is estimated that 2.77 billion people will be social media users around the globe. Whatever your views on the various platforms, it’s pretty clear that social media is well and truly winning our hearts!

For retailers, visibility on social media is now a vital part of the marketing mix, so creating a link between your online content and in-store visual merchandising is a really good way of boosting your brand and reaching a wider audience. Display your social media handle and recent hashtags at checkout, making it clear how customers can connect and talk about what you’re doing online.

GOODTILL TIP: a customer facing display on your POS system is a great way to promote your social media messages and increase followers.

4. Digital browsing

There’s a classic line that many store assistants are trained to ask at checkout – “Did you find everything you were looking for today?”

However, at this stage, most people just want to pay for what they’ve found already (plus the occasional add-on) and will routinely answer “yes”. And think about it – realistically, if they did say “no”, how many of your assistants are knowledgeable enough about your entire catalogue to actually find whatever it is the customer is looking for?

One of the great bonuses of using a smart POS system is that your entire inventory can be searched quickly to identify suitable products that meet your customers’ requests. Giving staff tablets to use out on the shop floor also enables them to make queries with customers while they’re still browsing, providing a more realistic opportunity to drive up sales! Even better if they can make transactions via the tablet there and then!

Ready for valentines?
With only a short while to go before Valentine’s Day itself, you may not have enough time to put all these tips into action but, if you’ve not already given your check out the ‘loved up’ treatment, it’s not too late to do something that makes the most of the gift-buying crowd.
According to a survey by Barclays, 40% of UK consumers will leave it to the last week before buying their Valentine’s gift – so, if nothing else, there’s still time to bring out the flowers and that range of impulse buys!
Contact us to discuss how the design and functionality features of our POS system can help spruce up your checkout. Or, if you’ve recently re-invented your checkout (with Valentine’s theme or otherwise) we’d love to see what you’ve done – tweet us @TheGoodTillco.