Creating a Friendlier Checkout Experience

Many consumers truly enjoy shopping as a form of entertainment. Filling a cart with scrumptious nibble-y things or handing blouse after blouse to a sales associate is fun and carefree, but for some shoppers, the thrill of the spree can take a stomach-churning turn as the checkout process draws nearer. As they queue up behind a daunting stainless steel counter, feelings of buyer’s remorse can prematurely set in – especially while waiting in a long line. Some shoppers might simply get irritated and decide to leave, while others begrudgingly wait in line and leave the store feeling disgruntled. While this isn’t every consumer’s experience, retailers should be aware that lineups at the check out have the possibility of eliciting some negative feelings. Fortunately, there are ways to make the experience friendlier.

At Henrik Vibskov in NYC, the POS is set up in the most unobtrusive manner as possible: outwards-facing in the middle of the store. The organically positioned system allows for a much more personal experience as explained by the manager:

We wanted to obstruct that line between a customer and a service person behind a desk finishing up the sale. This set up is more of a ‘work bench’ kind of feeling. You and the customer can come over here together and have a bit of a chat and it feels like a more personal touch. It’s a lasting feeling that the customer leaves the shop with.

Customers leaving a store feeling like they’ve had a personal, intimate experience with the brand and their staff is a crucial element to building loyalty. While this barrier-free approach to ringing up orders works for boutiques like Henrik Vibskov, larger stores might need another approach due to busier crowds. That’s where mobile checkouts come in.

Imagine waiting in line, dreaming of a bagel with your armload of clothes growing heavier and heavier, when a sales associate approaches you with an iPad. The instant relief has suddenly stamped out any premature buyer’s remorse or irritation. Add to that a complimentary bottle of water, and as a customer, your positive brand association has reached almost maximum potential. A customized follow-up ‘thank you’ email, or personalized suggestions at a next visit to the store are the final steps in ensuring the complete consumer experience.

Enticing shoppers with visual displays and effective advertising in addition to providing excellent service are only half of the experience. The transaction process itself, as well as the post-purchase relationship is just as important. Ask yourself how approachable your checkout is, and what you can do to make the journey from the sales floor to the point of sale a little more enjoyable.