Customizing Retail POS for an Ideal Checkout Experience

“A lot of the things we discovered we can do online, now, with the Internet of Things, we can also do offline,” says Michael Chui, a partner at the McKinsey Global Institute, the business and economics unit for consultant McKinsey & Co. in an article for National Retail Federation. He believes that one area that will be affected is the checkout experience noting, “People have said when checkout is working really well, it will feel like stealing. You grab a pair of shoes and you just walk out.”

Backing up his prediction, Harris Poll recently conducted a survey that found 88 percent of U.S. adults want their checkout experience to be faster. With that in mind, retailers need to focus on strategies to take advantage of the burgeoning connected retail market. Certainly, checkout is a huge part of the customer experience in a brick and mortar retail environment. What most retailers are noticing is that there is no single solution approach.

Fixed POS

Fixed POS has been a mainstay in retail environments for years and is still a preferred customer option. While traditional fixed POS is preferred, retailers are seeing a demand for greater flexibility. Some are looking for digital signage integration to highlight specials or overstocks, or different mounting configurations and larger customer-facing screens allowing for an expedited checkout and an improved customer experience.

Mobile POS

Another trend we’re seeing is an increased desire for engagement via the ability to accept payments on the sales floor. A rugged mobile POS solution is an easy way to get associates out from behind the counter, especially one that complies with EMV, features NFC capability and encrypted mag-stripe readers. Retailers are finding new ways to improve the checkout experience by connecting mobile POS with other in-store technologies. This type of solution can check inventory, make product comparisons, manage inventory and bring up customer purchase history, among other tasks. Sales associates can deliver a faster and more tailored experience, where everything can be handled securely on the floor.

Self-Service POS

Self-serve kiosks are a great solution for those looking to bypass checkout lines and still enjoy the benefits of an in-store shopping experience. Shoppers have also shown a strong preference for them, with 85 percent having used a self-service kiosk according to a recent survey from Chicago-based Retale. This will result in an expected global kiosk market of as much as $1.2 billion in 2015, according to a study conducted by Transparency Market Research.

Retailers must look at technologies like POS terminals, kiosks and way-finding terminals as potential sources of market intelligence throughout the checkout experience. In today’s competitive market, retailers need to examine how best to improve the checkout experience whether it’s at a fixed POS, mobile POS or a self-service POS station. The opportunity to reinvent the checkout experience is there, so it’s an exciting time.

For more on the IoT in retail, read our blog ‘Internet of Everything and the Changing Retail Experience.’

Be sure to check out our next blog in our series on improving the customer experience with the IoT in retail as we discuss video technology’s role.