January 2015
Checkout Changes By Abby Kleckler

When’s the last time you heard the cha-ching of a cash register? I’m not talking about making the sale, but about the sound itself.

A recent shopping trip got me thinking about point-of-sale (POS) systems. I walked into clearance store Nordstrom Rack in search of a birthday gift and inevitably found a pair of shoes for myself I couldn’t resist.

Once I had both items in hand, I looked for the nearest employee in a lime-green shirt.

The employees were carrying around mobile POS systems, so I could check out right in the shoe department.

This eliminated the line and the time I had to stand and think if I really needed that pair of shoes or if I should put them back.

Apple has a similar mobile setup, with some stores getting rid of the traditional cash register all together. First-time shoppers ask the inevitable question: “Where do I check out?” But after that, customers probably appreciate the convenience. I know I do.

point of service?

Making the small jump from retail to restaurants, I ended up going to a Chili’s Grill & Bar on a recent trip. At first glance, I thought the tablet on the table was just for games (a quick way to occupy kids who were tired of sitting and waiting). I was wrong.

When we ordered dessert from our waitress (how do you resist the chocolate chip skillet cookie?), she had us put the order into the tablet. When we were ready to leave, the tablet is where we swiped our credit card.

Do these systems have the potential to eliminate customer service completely? Or do they make the service better by letting you control the speed of your meal to some extent?

cash (or card) & carry

Today’s shoppers require efficient, speedy service and – maybe most importantly – that you’ll accept their form of payment.

While strolling through the Cash & Carry section at AmericasMart during the International Home & Gift Market last month, I saw a dozen Square mobile credit card readers hooked up to smartphones and tablets before I stopped counting. One jeweler even had a sign saying they accepted bitcoins. Were people really buying necklaces and earrings with the digital currency?

Retailers don’t blink when swiping plastic (save for those cash-only establishments that can’t fathom breaking from tradition – sometimes it even adds to the charm).

Cash & Carry still meant you had to pay for items on the spot, but many wholesalers were accepting more than green stuff.

New payment methods and shrinking lines can help you as a retailer, but the benefits are much more extensive than that. Sid Raisch tackles what POS advancements mean for your garden center on page 24.

Do you use mobile checkout systems in your store? Have shoppers tried to pay with digital wallets? Could you accommodate them? What types of data do you rely on your POS system for?

Message me at [email protected] I’d love to hear what works best for you! And if your register is still making the cha-ching sound, it might be time to upgrade.

Abby Kleckler

Abby is the managing editor of Lawn & Garden Retailer. Contact her at [email protected]


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