by Tina Manzer
With the right approach, your checkout counter can drive sales, increase exposure, and create a positive and lasting impression of your store, says retail trend expert Francesca Nicasio from Vend. Here are her spruce-it-up suggestions along with some “real” inspiration for making your checkout space.
… the ultimate impulse-item center.
During the back-to-school season, you’re in a great position to encourage impulse buys, and your checkout counter is one of the most natural areas in your store to do this. People who’ve made it to the checkout line are obviously in the mood to buy, so positioning the right merchandise can help boost their basket size.
Generally speaking, the best impulse buys are small and self-explanatory. They sell themselves. Also consider bringing in the kinds of things that are not on teachers’ must-have lists, but are just so cool they can’t live without them (fancy paper clips, splashy water bottles, and anything classroom décor).
Impulse purchases account for a significant chunk of consumer spending. The results of a survey by creditcards.com revealed that 84 percent of respondents made an impulse purchase at some time; 77 percent in the past three months. What’s more, nearly 80 percent of respondents made an impulsive purchase in-store, versus just 6 percent who said they impulsively bought something on their mobile device.
… a work of art
… a shopping resource
If you have an ecommerce site and don’t carry every single SKU in-store, let shoppers browse the rest of your catalog by placing a tablet on the checkout counter.
… an entertainment station
The wall behind your checkout counter is one of the best places to install a TV – you can pretty much guarantee that it will catch a shopper’s eye. It also gives customers something to look at while they wait for their turn at checkout.
Television screens not only enhance the look and feel of your store, but they can also heighten the shopping experience. Use TV screens to reinforce your brand and products by airing a slideshow showing your collection of math games, the latest décor items (ask your vendors for full-classroom images), or what can be created with the arts & craft supplies you stock. Or, simply play fun YouTube videos on a loop. Whatever it is, change it up often, especially if you’re experiencing long lines.
… all about “you”
Fancy fixtures and decorations are great, but having something uniquely “you” on or around your checkout counter gives shoppers a chance to connect with you, and to recall your store. Make it memorable with a display of photos, awards and degrees.
To tell your business story, feature images of the store when you were just starting out. If your business has been mentioned in the press, hang a copy of the blog post, or magazine or newspaper article, on your checkout wall.
… a lighting statement
Invest in something beautiful and functional at the same time. Bold lighting fixtures right above your cashwrap will draw attention to your checkout area while enhancing your overall store design.
… a greenhouse
Healthy plants are affordable, easy to maintain, and can instantly breathe life into your checkout area.
… an inspiration station
Spread good vibes using words, posters and bulletin board sets from your top-selling vendors. It’ll put a smile on teachers’ faces. You could even earn some social media mentions.
… a sharing-on-social-media space
Social media is an integral component of retail marketing. In addition to creating content in-house to post on social, we highly recommend encouraging your customers to share images of your products and store. Make sure your social media handle and brand hashtags are displayed at your checkout counter. Post a sign that reminds shoppers to connect with – and talk about – your brand on their favorite social channels. It will help you increase your followers, and put your brand in front of a wider audience.
… a seasonal showcase
The design of your checkout should change throughout the year. Keep things fresh by incorporating seasonal elements – so easy to do with the décor products you sell.
… a place to boast about your corporate social responsibility
Promote your efforts with a simple sign that tells shoppers about your charitable initiatives. It can help your cause, generate loyalty and increased spending, and remind customers that you stand for social good.
… stylishly chic
Your point-of-sale system is arguably the most important piece of technology in your store. Make it sleek by having one that works on a tablet or computer instead of a clunky cash register. In addition to saving space, modern POS solutions look and function better, so you can ring up customers efficiently and in style.
Can you go without it? Eliminating the checkout counter isn’t for every store, but in certain cases, it can improve layout and flow. Sometimes, simply having the option to un-tether the checkout process can make you more efficient. For example, on busy days, you can arm your staff with mobile POS systems so that they can ring up sales anywhere in the shop. Or, you can leverage countertop solutions to manage a primary line while another employee helps line-bust simple transactions with a mobile device.
Francesca doesn’t recommend that you try these ideas all at once. Test out a couple of ideas and see how shoppers react. Document your efforts and results, and improve accordingly.
Vend, a point-of-sale, inventory, and customer-loyalty software company, offers retailers a wealth of practical information on its website, vendhq.com. Be sure to check out its guide to increasing sales to discover how to turn savvy shoppers into loyal customers, add real and perceived value to each sale. Content strategist Francesca Nicasio is the author of Vend’s “Retail Survival of the Fittest,” an ebook that helps retailers future-proof their stores.