Providing a quick and efficient checkout is paramount to closing out a positive overall customer experience. You can do everything right up until that point, but if there’s additional friction or frustration, it could leave a sour taste in a customer’s mouth, or worse cause them to abandon their purchase all together.
There are a number of factors that can lead to positive or negative checkout experiences: long lines, poor signage, disinterested store associates, etc. but leveraging the right technology to create the right experience for your business, whether you’re a retailer, a restaurant or a hotelier, can make a huge difference. Here are a few examples of the different types of checkout experiences you can offer your customers to drive more loyalty.
The traditional checkout experience everyone’s used to. Whether it’s a full in-line experience like you’d see at the grocery store, or a simple countertop in a small retailer, this is the most familiar option for customers. The key differentiator for these solutions is typically what the device is capable of. Being able to integrate loyalty programs, ads, customer surveys and more are critical to offering a positive customer experience. These additional touchpoints not only ensure that the customer has a positive interaction but provides the merchant with a way to communicate with and learn from their customers. Additionally, being able to keep pace with new payment types, including contactless/mobile wallets, QR code payment, and even eventually cryptocurrencies, are an important aspect of ensuring customers are able to pay their way.
Self-Service and Unattended
One of the trends that will stick with consumers coming out of COVID is their use of self-service and unattended solutions. Customers quickly became comfortable with the checkout experience as it often enabled them to get in and out quickly while limiting unnecessary human interactions. In addition to providing customers with a quick and easy experience, these solutions also free up store associates to assist customers in other ways, including consultative selling, product and inventory look up and management, etc. Other unattended options include kiosks and vending solutions that enable customers to make purchases outside of store hours or in places where a physical footprint is unavailable. For example, a pharmacy could fill a vending solution with items like ibuprofen, feminine products, allergy medication and other commonly purchased items that can be bought after hours. This not only helps ensure customers are always taken care of but also provides opportunity for additional revenue that didn’t exist before.
My favorite thing about mobility solutions is that they enable a variety of different customer experiences. The most common of which is the Apple Store model, where store associates armed with mobile point of sale (mPOS) solutions are able to complete the transaction at the point of interaction. This caps off a consultative interaction with customers by enabling quick payment without the need to go wait in line, which gives customers more of a chance to abandon their purchase. For merchants that prefer a more traditional checkout experience, mobility solutions can still play a role, especially during peak hours as a line busting tool. Rather than opening up additional lanes, which might not always be possible, mobility solutions can be used to help customers waiting in line by accepting payment on the spot. This ensures that the line keeps moving efficiently and customers don’t get frustrated. Mobility solutions are particularly impactful for restaurants, as they enable a better Pay-at-the-Table experience. Pay-at-the-Table ensures that a guest’s card never leaves their sight and can help restaurant owners increase table turns by up to nine minutes – an opportunity for additional revenue for the restaurant and more tips for the servers.
Regardless of what checkout experience you choose to employ, it’s important to always be thinking about how it will impact your customers. While there is no wrong answer, implementing the right solution will ensure a positive customer experience from start to finish.
If you’re interested in updating your checkout experience, I’d love to love to chat and help you determine the best strategy for you.
Andrew Mahaffey is a Strategic Sales Executive at Ingenico, North America