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In retail, customer service is one of the key differentiators that separates the leaders from the pack in terms of brand recognition and sales.
And central to this experience is the Point of Sale – the place where staff knowledge, efficiency, speed and consumer insight come to the fore.
Akin to the helm of the retail ship, the Point of Sale experience can make or break a customer’s perception of a brand.
So, with that in mind, here’s an insight into improving the Point of Sale experience.
Today’s consumer has higher expectations than ever before, and across all channels one of their major demands is minimum friction when it comes to making a purchase.
In bricks and mortar retail that means time spent in the queue should be kept to an absolute minimum.
Retail Week notes 89 per cent of shoppers have left a store due to a long queue, and 65 per cent of those said they immediately went to a rival outlet afterwards.
Furthermore, according to Lightspeed, the maximum time people are prepared to spend waiting is 6 minutes 46 seconds, which makes a swift transaction at the Point of Sale imperative.
Mobile Point of Sale (mPOS) allows retailers to quickly establish additional checkouts, take the checkout to the consumer, process sales on the floor if required, and also allows for remote monitoring of a store’s performance and sales, which facilitates more efficient store management.
The mobile Point of Sale is affordable, efficient and easy for retailers to employ, relying on Cloud-based software delivered on a tablet or iPad.
Additional checkouts are simple to set-up courtesy of additional hardware like iPad stands or tablet stands, wirelessly connected cashdrawers and barcode scanners that transform a tablet into a fully mobile Point of Sale.
In a bid to ease pressure on the traditional checkout, many retailers are employing self-service, giving the customer the option of processing their own transaction. The self-service checkout alleviates the need for additional staff while also slashing the queue.
Although many grocery stores opt for purpose built self-service checkouts, smaller retailers can also take advantage of the trend using an iPad stand, iPad, barcode scanner and card reader.
Analytics like traffic counting and sales data can be invaluable in speeding up the Point of Sale, allowing a store to understand when they are likely to be busy and how many staff will be required.
Most mPOS software has analytics incorporated, giving retailers an insight into when their busiest periods are likely to occur. Coupled with additional data like traffic counting, retailers can gain a full view of trends occurring in their store.
If you’re a customer seeking product insight and expertise, the Point of Sale is your first port of call. It’s the place where questions are answered, stock is sourced, returns are processed, and loyalty is formed.
That makes knowledgeable staff the primary line of defense at the Point of Sale. It’s the spot to dazzle the customer with service skills, wow them with product insight, and provide a personalized experience that’s second to none.
Staff should be educated in product lines, stock levels and store policies including Click and Collect, layby, returns and exchanges, and gift cards. Staff who are fully abreast of how their store operates offer faster more efficient service at the POS, while improving the customer experience.
A store’s POS reports and analytics will indicate who your best-performing staff are, and also highlight where further training of staff might be required.
In addition to educating staff about the product lines available, arm them with tools such as tablets, which allow them to research on behalf of the customer.
These tools free up the POS for sales transactions and allow sales associates to check which items are available where, order products if necessary, or quickly call up social media and other sites to assist customers with their purchasing decisions.
As we mentioned before, when these tablets are also set up to accommodate mobile POS, they can even allow associates to process sales on the floor.
The customer data available from loyalty initiatives allows staff to offer personalized service and recommendations based on a customer’s previous purchases and habits. Again, this is a trend that retailers can easily accommodate using simple customer service techniques accompanied by technology.
At the POS, staff should make loyalty initiatives available to customers, while retailers can also establish separate iPad or tablet kiosks dedicated to attracting new loyalty club members. These can involve the use of a simple tablet stand, a tablet and dedicated loyalty software.