Real estate is all about location — and for retail stores, that means not only where your business is located, but how your space is organized. Smaller retailers especially need to take maximum advantage of available space. Your retail store checkout counter is a particularly vital area, because it’s where you complete sales and interact with customers. Making the most of your counter space is essential for success, because it can help you build larger basket sizes and provide positive customer experiences that lead to repeat business. Here are the top three ways to best optimize this space.
An Ergonomic POS Solution
Your point of sale (POS) system is the most essential technology on your retail store checkout counter. The best retail POS hardware is ergonomically designed to provide maximum efficiency while taking up minimal space. Design features to look for include:
- Multi-use functionality: An all-in-one system that encompasses the terminal, receipt printer, display, and peripherals such as a magnetic stripe reader (MSR) or 2D barcode scanner will be most advantageous for saving space. Having the printer built into the base, for example, will eliminate extra power-cord clutter.
- Stackable and compact in size, but big in power: There are several cutting-edge central processing units (CPUs) available to provide a single source of power for your system, improving the speed and efficiency of transactions as well as reducing footprint.
- Versatile displays: Depending on your store’s needs, you’ll have a range of display options, including capacitive touchscreens, widescreen monitors, and dual displays. These monitors have slender but durable screens in a variety of sizes (from 15” to 21.5”) that can be oriented in portrait or landscape mode to best fit your available space.
- Flexible mounting options: Again depending on the unique needs of your retail space, you can choose wall-mounted or counter-mounted models. You might even want to consider a printer based kiosk solution that offers floor and counter mounts, as well as screen orientation options: vertical or horizontal. Having such a customizable solution that can truly be built to fit your space is key in optimizing your checkout real estate.
Ergonomic retail POS hardware not only takes up less space but also improves the aesthetics of your checkout counter. A sleek, sophisticated POS system will create a much better impression than a clunky, chunky traditional cash register and tangled cables connecting other separate elements such as the receipt printer. With a slim, elegant POS, customers will perceive your brand as modern, up-to-date, and stylish, increasing their desire to continue doing business with you.
Utilizing the Space
Once you’ve cleared extra space on your retail store checkout counter by implementing a compact POS system, what can you do with that space? You can make more money! The checkout counter is ideal for displaying the kinds of merchandise that will stimulate impulse buying.
Impulse buys are spontaneous purchases made in the spur of the moment, without much (or any) forethought or deliberation. The sight of a desirable or potentially useful item (particularly if it’s a good deal or has limited availability) creates the instant urge to acquire it, and indulging such whims can feel good. Perhaps that’s why more than 87% of US shoppers make impulse purchases, and impulse buying accounts for between 40% and 80% of purchases.
So, fill that counter space with products that your customers may not know they want or need until they see them. These displays can keep buyers engaged while they wait in the checkout line and present another opportunity to add to their baskets. Good types of impulse-buy merchandise include:
- Gift cards
- Seasonal products, such as high-SPF lip balms and sunglasses for summer, or soaps and candles with limited-time scents like pumpkin spice and candy cane
- Accessories and items that complement your primary merchandise — anything from scarves and costume jewelry to batteries and extension cords
- Snacks and drinks
- Small toys and novelties (keychains, for example)
- Travel-sized products and samples
The ideal price range for such items is somewhere under $20, or an amount small enough that customers won’t pause to think too much about it. Even one extra item for every two or three (or ten) customers can add up to a lot at the end of the day.
Improving the Customer Experience
An efficient retail store checkout counter that also fulfills impulse-buy urges will ultimately help to create greater customer lifetime value (CLV), maximizing store profitability. CLV is the total amount of money a shopper will spend with you over the course of their lifetime. It’s why retention of existing customers can be more valuable and cost-efficient than attracting new ones, and why you want to keep people coming back.
Customers have certain expectations for satisfactory experiences in a retail environment, including easy navigation through the aisles, visible signage and pricing, and a centralized, well-organized checkout area. If your retail checkout is cluttered with clunky equipment or bogged down with slow transaction processing, customers will be deterred from future visits. Make sure that store layout and signage, as well as the checkout counter, are designed correctly to increase customer satisfaction and encourage repeat sales.
Gain Efficiency and Space with the Right Tech
When it comes to space, not every retail store has the ideal amount to work with. Learning how to best utilize what you have is a key to success. Using ergonomic retail POS hardware will help you make the most of your checkout counter in terms of efficiency and space. The extra room can be put to better use displaying additional products that will increase basket sizes with impulse purchases. Both of these factors contribute to the kind of satisfactory customer experiences that lead to greater profitability.
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