It’s been a long time since retailers were bound to old-school cash registers. Today’s businesses have modern technology to help them run every aspect of the operation—and this includes administering transactions. The modern POS system has replaced the cash register, and it brings tons of added features and benefits for businesses and shoppers alike.
Although more than two-thirds of consumers prefer to shop in-store, more than 70% find the checkout experience to be their biggest complaint. This is where those point-of-sale features come into play. Not only do POS systems make checkout simpler and faster, they also enhance every step of the buyer journey—from research through post-purchase.
And it’s important to consider the customer experience as a retailer—not just your logistical and backend needs. A small increase in customer experience can increase average revenue by $823 million over three years for a company with $1 billion in annual revenue. That’s a big jump! Let’s look at some of the ways your POS can enhance the customer experience and grow your bottom line.
1. Fast Checkout Times
Unfortunate as it may be, consumers are getting impatient. This includes the checkout process. And as a retailer, if a shopper is interested enough to wait in line, that deal is almost as good as done–unless checkout takes too long.
American consumers will leave a checkout line after waiting for six minutes. With an advanced POS, you can speed up the checkout process in a number of ways:
- Accommodate various payment methods: Eliminate that embarrassing moment for shoppers where they have to dig through their wallet to find the right card. Offering e-wallet, contactless, and PayPal payment methods can help reduce the time it takes customers to complete transactions.
- Saved payment types: Speed up the payment process—returning customers don’t even need to take out their wallet. This method is best for boutique and service businesses that have close client relationships.
- Check out on the sales floor: Reach customers where they’re at, without needing to wait in line. Mobile and tablet POS systems allow associates to ring transactions on the sales floor as soon as shoppers make a buying decision.
- Buy online: Customers only need to visit the store for fulfillment. Online checkouts allow for curbside and in-store pickup, so customers can minimize waiting time.
Bang Hair in Seattle uses Square POS to accept a variety of payment types. These capabilities have been invaluable to the business, especially considering 95% of their transactions are via debit or credit card.
2. Empower Store Associates
Your store associates are the human representation of your brand, so it’s important they make a good impression on potential customers. But more than half of millennial shoppers think store associates don’t have the necessary tools to deliver great customer service. And Only 37% of shoppers feel like retailers know them in the first place.
Today’s POS systems make it easier for associates to access advanced tools and information needed to elevate the customer experience. With user roles, you can limit their access so they only get the dashboards they need—nothing too overwhelming. And if you use a POS with an intuitive interface, it’s easy for associates to get up and running.
Plus, mobile POS systems (mPOS) allow associates to proactively help customers on the floor—armed with information they need. And although 34% of shoppers use mobile devices to research products while in-store, only 17% have been helped by a store associate using a mobile device.
Krön Chocolatier, located in Long Island, New York, is an established fine chocolate and sweet treat manufacturer and retailer. Its team uses ShopKeep POS to empower staff on the floor, so president and owner Marnie Ives can spend time on more impactful business activities. “In the beginning I handled all of the reporting, programming, and transactions with ShopKeep, but have easily trained enough people to use the system—even part-timers and seasonal employees,” she said.
3. Improve Customer Service
POS systems allow retailers to improve the level of service they provide customers throughout the entire buyer journey. In addition to fast checkout and knowledgeable, helpful store associates, there are countless other ways you can uplevel service, thanks to a POS.
For starters, POS systems build customer profiles, so you learn more about shoppers each time they interact with you. This makes personalization easier to accomplish, as you can tailor in-person recommendations to their preferences as well as set up automated campaigns to trigger based on customer behavior. In one email marketing analysis, personalized emails earned six times higher transaction rates and revenue per email than non-personalized versions.
And customer service goes beyond personalization. Associates armed with a mPOS can make sales on the floor, look up more product information, and even offer real-time updates of product availability across stores.
4. Implement Line-Busting Capabilities
What is line-busting? Line-busting is essentially finding ways to shorten or eliminate lines in your business. As noted earlier, long lines and checkout times are deterrents for customers and can hurt your bottom line. Modern POS technology can improve the customer experience by allowing businesses to implement policies for line busting.
Here are some ideas:
- A mPOS option where your associates can administer transactions while customers wait.
- Ship from store so customers don’t have to wait for their product—this comes in handy with bulk items like furniture and appliances.
- Online ordering, where the products have been paid for in advance and the customer just needs to visit the store for fulfillment.
- Curbside pickup, which saw a surge in popularity thanks to social distancing requirements from COVID-19, allows customers to skip the line entirely.
- Similarly, buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) can reduce lines.
- Self-service kiosks, especially in the food service industry, can reduce ordering time and enable customers to place orders while in line.
When Creeds Collective launched its pop-up shop in New York City, it leveraged the mPOS features from Lightspeed for line busting. iPads allowed associates to make transactions anywhere in the shop, which spanned multiple stories.
5. Offer Self-Service Tools
Even before COVID-19 amplified the need for contactless options, consumers were growing increasingly accustomed to self-service. When McDonald’s added kiosks to select locations, those businesses saw a 5%–6% increase in sales. This puts customers in control of their order and also helps with line busting and speeding up the checkout process.
POS systems with kiosk integrations accommodate self-service in similar ways—where customers can ring up and pay for their order themselves. But, there are additional features that give shoppers more control, too.
Live chat is another great way for consumers to self-serve. Chatbots are particularly helpful, considering 77% of consumers think it takes too long to reach a live agent. Some POS tools can integrate with live chat—meaning customers can get answers to their questions faster and troubleshoot issues more easily, and you don’t need to hire as many support specialists. Customer satisfaction ratings for live chat are usually higher than other support channels, and it’s the preferred support channel for millennials.
6. Collect and Act on More Customer Feedback
Live chat, support queries, product reviews, social media comments, contact forms, even in-store conversation are all ways your customers can tell you what they think of your business. And savvy retailers not only collect but also listen to and proactively address this feedback.
Going back to the idea of self-serve, some retailers use their POS to ask customers for feedback directly. Shoppers can use the POS themselves and share their thoughts. This makes it easy to give feedback, which is important considering one report found that 44% of consumers have abandoned a customer survey without completing it—more than half because the survey is too long. Some 32% of shoppers are willing to provide feedback in person, so it’s a good idea to capitalize on these opportunities when you can.
Another interesting find from the survey is that 19% of shoppers want to provide feedback during the transaction, 34% immediately afterward, and 34% within 24 hours. You can set automated emails with your POS to ask for feedback post-purchase. 52% also said that a negative experience could have been improved if they had the opportunity to give real-time feedback.
With a POS, store associates can enter customer feedback in the system right there on the spot. These quantitative insights are unfiltered and provide deeper insights than a purely quantitative approach—and it makes your customers feel heard.
7. Automate Rewards and Loyalty Programs
Your loyalty program is a powerful customer retention tool that encourages repeat purchases, higher spending, and more word-of-mouth marketing. And your POS can make it easy to unlock these advantages for your retail store without spending a lot of time on it.
For starters, it’s important to focus on customer retention because growing your loyal customers by just 5% can grow sales by up to 75%. And loyalty program members spend approximately 37% more than those who don’t belong to a program.
But for a loyalty program to be successful, it needs to be easy to sign up and easy to use. That’s where your POS comes into play. With a user-friendly and simple interface, POS systems make it easy to add customers to your loyalty program, as well as earn and redeem rewards. This is especially important, because 28% of Gen Z consumers won’t sign up for a loyalty program if it takes too long to do so, and 40% of shoppers feel that loyalty programs make it too hard to earn any rewards.
Melbourne-based gift emporium TheSuperCool uses iPads along with Vend POS and its Collect Rewards integration to manage its customer loyalty program, SuperCool Amigos. It has automated a lot of this process, which has allowed the company to focus on improving the customer experience rather than tediously managing a database of program members. As a result, the company grew its email list by 750% in three years.
8. Design Data-Driven Product Displays
Visual merchandising is a critical element to the retail experience, and it’s one of the biggest differentiators from online shopping. But unfortunately, less than half of retail displays come out as planned.
Pre-POS retailers had to wait weeks to have enough data to analyze their displays’ performance. Now, POS systems provide real-time metrics and tracking, so you can see if a display has directly contributed to a lift in sales—or the opposite.
You can also integrate foot traffic analysis technology with a compatible POS system. This integration marries the data so you can see how customers move around your store, which products they interact with, and what they end up purchasing.
The results can be surprising. One retailer used RetailNext’s in-store analytics platform and saw that product displays were preventing customers from easily browsing the store. They decided to test removing the displays and actually saw a 19% increase in sales as a result. Without POS data, this optimization and analysis wouldn’t have been possible.
Bottom Line: Improve the Customer Experience With Your POS
When you implement a POS in your retail business, you’re doing more than enhancing the checkout experience for customers and associates alike. You’re creating an entire customer experience fueled by real-time data and insights.
To take advantage of these eight ways a POS can enhance the customer experience and get the most out of your POS, read our guide on the full benefits of using a POS system.