Tips For A Faster Retail Checkout

Tips For A Faster Retail Checkout

Long line ups in retail stores lower profitability for retailers. In the past year, 86% of US shoppers have left a store due to the frustration of long waiting times to check out. The problem is only getting worse as people have less patience when shopping in store after the pandemic and many retailers are understaffed.

If you want to avoid losing sales, you need to think about how you can speed up your checkout process. Here are 6 tips for faster checkout speeds.

Simplify your checkout process

Line of customers waiting for checkout, last person in line is holding their bladder in while clutching toilet paper for purchase
(Source)

Reconsider the amount of detail you ask from a customer during your checkout process. While collecting phone numbers and emails are helpful for future marketing, they require proper consent today due to privacy laws. More importantly, having your cashiers ask customers for these details can really slow down checkout and increase customer frustration.

We understand that having customer info is useful for marketing purposes so you should train staff to collect this information only when the store is not busy.

At the same time, add QR codes at the checkout and around the store to encourage shoppers to sign up to newsletters or to follow you on social media. This is a more convenient and faster way for shoppers to agree to receive marketing from you and it doesn’t slow down your lines.

Reduce the checkout routine where possible

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During the pandemic, it became more common for retailers to make changes to their normal processes. This is particularly true with checkout processes. As more people pay with credit card that have payment notifications, shoppers have changed their expectations regarding receipts.

If you’re understaffed or you sell products that are not likely to be returned, you can consider training your staff to ask customers if they want receipts after every sale. More and more shoppers are skipping on receipts since they already get payment notifications. This will not only help you save on paper and be more environmentally friendly, it will cut down on precious checkout time.

If you do want to keep track of customer sales history, collect emails and also mobile phone numbers when creating customer profiles. This will give you several ways to market to customers in the future, and it will allow you to associate a transaction to a customer during checkout using a unique nine digit telephone number instead of asking for names or emails which take more time to look up.

Encourage electronic payment

Cartoon man looking sad as his credit card gets declines at a payment terminal which slows down checkout speeds
(Source)

If you tend to have lineups, electronic payments will pay out for you in the long term. While accepting cash means avoiding processing fees, fewer and fewer people carry cash nowadays. The additional tradeoff of slower checkout (perceived worse customer service) and greater human error makes it critical for many retailers to offer different forms of electronic payment.

Make sure that you are using an in-store point of sale system that offers direct card terminal integration. This will help you speed things up even further by eliminating the need for your staff to punch in the invoice amount on the card terminal. This will help you move shoppers through lines faster, reduce human error and the opportunity for employee theft compared to cash.

Keeping up with staff training

Stacked binders, with the middle one being labelled "STAFF TRAINING"
(Source)

One major cause of slow checkout in stores is not enough employee training. Making sure that your staff know how to use your POS system and answer customer questions effectively are key to minimizing delays. This not only affects how quickly you make sales, it significantly impacts the customer experience for shoppers. American Express found in a study that 33% of consumers have considered switching stores immediately after poor customer service.

Have enough store signage

"We Accept Debit & Credit" Sign for checkouts
(Source)

Training staff to answer questions is always crucial but commonly asked questions can be responded to faster with clear signage. Making the checkout process faster not only makes customers happy, but it also helps employees. They don’t have to keep answering the same questions over and over again. Some good examples of this are:

  • Make sure customers can see what ways they can pay at the front of the store and at every cash register. This way, they don’t have to wait in line and then find out they can’t pay the way they want to. This is particularly true for contactless payments as it’s common for many shoppers to use their smartphones for smaller, routine payments now.
  • If you have set limits on tap, put up friendly reminders at the cash registers to help people know what to do. For example, if you only allow it under a certain total amount to limit your liability, remind shoppers to insert their cards in the chip reader and/or to wait until the transaction is done before taking the card out.
  • Put small signs near the card terminals so people know where to tap their cards if they want to pay that way. Different terminals have the tap readers in different parts of the device.
  • If you want people to pay a certain way, put the logo of the method at checkout so people know it’s available. This is particularly true if you charge convenience fees or offer cash discounting.

Expert Tip – A reminder that there is no chargeback liability with contactless payments. Merchants are responsible for any chargebacks when shoppers tap their cards or smartphones to pay. If chargebacks are a problem in your store, you should consider keeping your contactless limit low – e.g. only allow tap payments below $100.

Use new technology for a faster checkout

Get faster checkout speeds with TAKU

Not only are newer POS systems easier to use, they allow you to sell in more flexible ways. With TAKU, you can easily offer the following all a single system:

  • Buy online, pickup in-store which helps you pre-sell with payment. It’s easier to set up a pickup only counter for junior staff to cover with minimal training.
  • Sell from anywhere inside or outside the store with mobile POS. Turn any device into a sales register to check out customers wherever they are shopping.
  • Self-checkout screens that allow customers to line up to order or pay for items themselves.

Functions like these allow customers to shop and pay in the way that is easiest for them, all while helping you sell faster with a better customer experience.

TAKU Self-checkout kiosk banner
How Brick & Mortar Businesses Can Attract More Shoppers In Store

How Brick & Mortar Businesses Can Attract More Shoppers In Store

Originally published April 5th, 2022

As Spring is finally here, people are going to be heading outside much more often, especially after the last several years. With increased foot traffic outdoors, retailers should be looking for ways to bring some of that foot traffic into their own stores. If you are a retailer, you may be wondering: “How can I attract more local shoppers?” Well, in this article, we’ll go through how brick & mortar businesses can attract more shoppers.

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Exciting in-store experiences to attract more shoppers in store

In-store experiences have definitely become more common. People today are always looking to participate in new experiences. Here are some ideas for interesting experiences you can curate for your consumers:

1. Photo ops

Set aside a small space in your store (or even outside your store) where customers can take photos and share their visit on social media. This space should get customers excited. Some ideas include: a chalkboard with some unique art related to your business, a custom neon sign, or even an installation of some beautiful plants along with some decoration. Get creative here, and allow your brand to shine through. Don’t forget to put up photos of other shots for ideas.

Chatime's "TIME TO PAR-TEA" neon sign
Chatime has installed neon signs with their signature “time to par-tea” catchphrase where people can take images of their drink and share it online (source)

The pictures your customers take will end up advertising your store for free through the customers’ social media posts. It also creates a positive association between your brand and the consumer.

Reminder: Offer a small incentive to get shoppers to tag you in their posts. Tagging is important to increase visitors to your social media accounts.

2. In-store events

Another way brick & mortar shops can attract more shoppers is through exciting events in store. By events, we don’t mean things like sales and promotions. Although those can be effective, we recommend running events such as: lessons/classes in something related to your business, having an expert in your industry come in and host a seminar, or the reveal of a new product line.

Loblaws' cooking classes
Loblaws offers PC cooking lessons for customers to take and learn new recipes (source)

Make sure that the event you are hosting provides value to your business. The event should be related to the industry your business is in, but not something you already offer in some way.

For example, a vacuum shop could host a seminar on how to go about spring cleaning. The vacuum store doesn’t offer spring cleaning services, but people who are planning their spring cleaning will most definitely be using vacuum cleaners. So offering them a guide on how to effectively go about the cleaning will give them an added benefit and encourage the purchase of a new vacuum.

Dyson vacuum demos for customers
Dyson letting in store customers test out their products against eight types of debris (source)

Even if they don’t end up purchasing a vacuum, this event will still bring them into the store, but more importantly the event will allow the customer to perceive your brand as the expert on cleaning. Now they will be more likely to think of your store when considering their next vacuum purchase.

3. Partner with others to host pop-in shops

Another way to increase foot traffic in your store is to host pop-in shops for other businesses. This works best when the other businesses are related but not directly competitive to yours. Simply designate a spot in your store to host another small business’s pop-up stop to offer items that help sell your own products. For example, a bakery shop could host a pop-up shop for a small artisan jelly business or a coffee shop could host a pop-up donuts business. 

Etsy's pop-up shop in Indigo
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Attract more customers in store through low cost merchandising tactics

Retail merchandising is key to creating a positive customer experience. A strong merchandising strategy brings the products to your customer rather than the other way around. Here are some modern merchandising tactics your business can use to engage your customers. 

1. Storefront Window Display QR codes

A cost efficient way to attract more customers in your store is to use QR codes in your window display. This allows them to be accessible to everyone passing by. These QR codes allow anyone with a mobile device to easily learn more about your products, even when your store is closed.

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QR codes are easily changeable which allows you to regularly update them every time you change your window display.

INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO PRINT FREE QR CODES

2. Helpful cross-selling signs

A way to modernize your store merchandising strategy is to use signs to cross-sell other products. Most in-store signs today take up space but only promote one specific product. Adding cross-selling signs allows you to use the same amount of space but promote multiple products at once. Simply merchandise products together that are known to be bought together and create a sign that presents that to your customers.

Liquor store complementary product signage to attract more shoppers
This liquor store pairs to ideal products together with the help of a simple sign (source)

Adding signs that say “Buy this if you like this” or “This goes great with this” is simple, but it’s enough to draw attention to other products.

3. Highlight your Google profile & Google Reviews

Another way brick & mortar shops can attract more local shoppers is to highlight popularity and your Google reviews. Google prioritizes local businesses when nearby shoppers search online. Make sure that your Google store listing has accurate information including your address, store hours, etc. A good omnichannel system will be able to easily manage this information for you.

Highly engaged reviews are important for new customers that have never visited your store. A sign at the front of your store stating “ Google best seller” or a good quote from a Google review would attract new customers into your store. Some ideas include:

  • Printing out users’ reviews and placing them near the product
  • Placing a sign at the front of your store with the products that are gaining the most recognition on Google
  • Putting up a sign that offers an incentive for shoppers to leave reviews
Google on a smartphone showing product reviews
Check Google reviews of a product in-store to showcase it to customers (source)

Omnichannel to attract more shoppers

Retail stores that sell in-store and online use omnichannel software to easily turn online visits into bigger in-store sales. Omnichannel software is what allows retailers to offer real-time inventory and BOPIS (Buy Online, Pickup In-Store or what is sometimes called Click & Collect) to customers without any manual work. With the right system, customers can place orders online and pick up in stores when the same system notifies them that the products are ready.

1. Real-time stock availability

Showing real-time store stock levels online allows customers to see real time stock availability so they won’t be disappointed when they get to the store. A positive shopping experience encourages returning customers. Using a tool such as TAKU’s built-in integration to Google or to your own online store lets you easily showcase your available store products online without any effort.

Google SWIS Example
TAKU’s Google inventory integration in action

2. Buy online pickup instore (BOPIS)

Customers love to shop online but don’t love the shipping costs or the amount of packing materials used to send products out. By allowing them to pick up their order in store it solves their problem while also creating an opportunity for your business to upsell, lower merchant processing fees and reduce return rates.

Scout, a gift shop in Toronto, offering curbside pickup for their online orders (source)

BOPIS reduces the friction between your online store and your in store experience for happier shoppers. And using the right all-in-one technology will increase sales while reducing the operational costs of fulfilling from the store.

Attract more customers by offering In-Store Exclusives

In-store exclusives are a great way to attract more nearby shoppers. Local customers are willing to shop in person instead of online if there’s a strong value-add. You can give your customers this reason by offering in-store only exclusives. Here are a few in-store exclusives you can offer: 

In-store only promotions/deals

You can create an exclusive feeling for your in-store shoppers by implementing promotions and discounts offered only with an in-store purchase. This is where your store can offer any promotion or deals worth sharing. Some examples include:

  • Offering some products only in store
  • Grouping bundles of your products and selling them as a combo
  • Giving coupons that can only be redeemed in your retail locations
Michaels $4 Grab Bag deal
Michael’s $4 Grab Bag is a in store only deal that lets customer buy a box  with various holiday or seasonal items and puts a single price of $4 on them (source)

Creating a seamless shopping experience for your store has never been easier with TAKU. Besides running all of your in-store and online sales in one system, our built-in free Google listings allow you to easily advertise your real stock availability to nearby customers. TAKU Retail can also help you easily integrate BOPIS into your business. If you want to learn more about it, click the button below for a free demo.

Attract more customers in store with TAKU
How To Update Your Holiday Hours on GMB (Google My Business)

How To Update Your Holiday Hours on GMB (Google My Business)

With the holidays right around the corner, there is one task that needs to get done before any store holiday closures. You need to update your hours of operation for the holidays on Google My Business (GMB). The last thing you want is for a potential customer to think you are open and head to your store when it’s closed.

So today, we’ll take you through the steps on how to update your holiday hours on GMB. Luckily TAKU has built-in features for updating your store hours. So we will show you how to update your store hours from within TAKU or directly from within GMB.

Updating your holiday hours in GMB

  1. Firstly, sign into the Google account associated with your store’s Google My Business page. This is your store showcase on Google like the example below. To learn more about Google My Business or how to sign up for a GMB account, check out our retail resources here.
TAKU customer Eclectic Cafe and Catering

Reminder, you will need to be logged into a Google account that has permission to access your Google My Business store profile.

  1. Once you are logged into your Google account, sign into your Google My Business account from the main Google search page. Simply click the menu button next your Google profile picture.
Head to the top right of your Google page to access the grid menu
  1. Click that to find your business profile.
GMB Business Profile menu
  1. Click on Business Profile to bring up the Your business on Google menu with the options below.
Google My Business options - Edit Profile
  1. Click Edit profile. In the new window, click on the Hours tab and scroll down to the section Holiday hours. Click the pencil icon to edit your store holiday hours.
Editing Holiday hours on GMB

And just like that you can edit any holiday hours for your business. This way, customers searching for you online or on Google Maps will always see your latest hours of operation.

Updating your GMB store hours from TAKU

As long as your TAKU account is integrated to your Google My Business account once, you can update your store hours directly from your POS. This works for both single stores or stores set up with multiple locations in GMB.

  1. Click Settings from the main menu in TAKU.
TAKU Settings
  1. Click Stores > Manage Stores
TAKU Stores > Manage Stores
  1. Click the View link for the store you would like to edit.
TAKU Manage Stores page
  1. From the Store Details page, click on the Hours tab and add a New Period to add your latest store hours. Don’t forget to click the yellow button to save your new store hours.
TAKU Store Hours page

Bonus: Adding FAQs to your GMB profile

Do you often get the same questions from customers? For example, do people always ask whether your store is an official reseller of a brand, or if your store has parking nearby?

These types of questions are perfect for the new FAQ (frequently asked questions) section now available in Google My Business. Posting FAQs in your GMB profile will help you avoid answering the same questions over and over again.

Setting up an FAQ on your profile is super easy and can be done in a few quick steps.

  1. From the same Your business on Google menu, click Messages.
Google My Business options - Setting up FAQs
  1. Then click the menu button (the 3 dots) on top right corner of the window.
GMB Messages - Menu Setting for FAQs
  1. Click Chatting Settings

4. Click to expand Add FAQs.

Chat Settings - Add FAQs
  1. Click the Add a Question button.
FAQs - Add a Question button
  1. Add a Question and answer (the Automated Response) and click Save. Repeat this for as many FAQs you would like to add to your GMB profile.
GMB FAQ - How to Add a question

Now your shoppers can get the answers to common questions regarding your store without having to contact you by phone or email. This way both you and your customers can save time.


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TAKU Canada 2022 Holiday Hours

TAKU Canada 2022 Holiday Hours

Thank you for your continued support over the past year. Don’t forget to check out our year-end recap with our latest articles and features.

We wish all of our customers and employees a well-deserved break. Stay safe! 🎄🙌

TAKU Retail’s holiday hours of operation 🕔 will be as follows:

Important! As always, active support members have access to emergency support at 1-855-660-2555.

Products with Variants: New TAKU Feature

Products with Variants: New TAKU Feature

If you carry a lot of similar products with different options, inventory can be hard to manage. We’re excited to announce that TAKU now has the ability for you to create products with variants to group similar goods that are sold with different options such as color or size.

TAKU product variations

Product with variants, sometimes known as matrix products, allow retail stores to manage every unique combination of options as its own “variant product.”

Variants vs options on TAKU Retail

Every variant product has its own “child SKU,” with its own inventory and price, while sharing attributes with an associated “parent SKU.” Variant products help stores track inventory more accurately. But they are most important for e-commerce or self-check kiosks as they allow shoppers to select different options from the same product page.

While it’s common for cloud-based retail systems to have many limitations on how product variants can be created, we’ve built TAKU to be super flexible and easy to use. Compared to other platforms, TAKU lets you:

  • Create new matrix products with up to 4 options (e.g. size, color, etc.) with unlimited unique “variants” or combinations
  • Add or combine existing single products into new parent SKUs while keeping past sales history
  • Unlink “child” products from an existing “parent” SKU and continue to sell them as single products, again while keeping past sales history
  • Easily make “parent” or “child” products inactive when options are discontinued
Unlinking child products from parent products in TAKU

What makes it even easier? While product details of parent SKUs are automatically applied to child products when adding new options. Certain details, such as stock quantities, price and images of child products, can be adjusted for each SKU as well.

Learn more about how you can start using our flexible product matrix feature by checking out our TAKU help articles here.

8 Halloween Merchandising Ideas

8 Halloween Merchandising Ideas

With Halloween just around the corner, it’s the most festive time of year for retailers. Halloween merchandising, if done well, can help get your store ready for this fun, spooky holiday. Whether you still need to decorate or just want to add a little something to improve your existing decor, we’re here to share 8 Halloween merchandising idea that are fun, creative, and easy for busy stores to set up.

1. Pumpkin in-store displays

Starting off with this classic Halloween display, you probably already have them in your displays or have used them before. Whether they’re real or fake, they make great displays because they’re automatically associated with Autumn. This means you can keep them past Halloween since they perfect for Thanksgiving too. Placing pumpkins around product displays just adds that little bit of color to give your display that Halloween/Autumn spirit.

Pumpkins on a flower display
(Source)

2. Mannequins

If you already own mannequins in your store, this is a great way to utilize them for the fall season. Mannequins are extremely versatile for Halloween merchandising ideas. You can either decorate it to show off fall outfits ideas using items from your store if you sell clothing.

Mannequins decorated in a Halloween fashion
(Source)

If you don’t sell clothing but still want to use mannequins in your display, you can make it look like a scene from a scary movie, make it funny and lighthearted, or even put a pumpkin head on the mannequins.

Mannequins with Pumpkin heads showing off Autumn fashion lines
(Source)

3. Use products to create Halloween art pieces

If you don’t have a large budget, but still want to decorate your product displays, you can instead use those products to create a fun display such as the soda wall below. But there’s no need to do anything as large as the example below. You can do a smaller design with whatever you have in stock and get creative!

Soda boxes organized to mimic the Scream mask
(Source)

4. Using shadows in Halloween merchandising

This is one of the more ingenious Halloween merchandising ideas – using shadows and silhouettes as decorations. This is definitely a great alternative to buying large and expensive Halloween pieces. They can add dimension and detail to your displays, and as long as you have a light source and a suitable shape to help create the silhouette with. Get as creative as you want and try adjusting the sizing and look of the shadow easily by moving the light source around to get different angles.

Witch statue illuminated to cast a large shadow
(Source)

5. Bat walls on store displays

A bat wall can serve as a perfect background for your product displays since it can take up a large space while adding a halloween look to your store. You can hang bat cutouts from the ceiling using fishing string or other alternatives, put them on some sort of board like the example below, or stick them on display items. Do whatever looks and feels best for your store!

A wall of bats used to decorate a product display
(Source)

6. Halloween Banners

Halloween banners are a simple, festive type of decoration that are easy to set up.

Ghost busters themed "Happy Halloween" banner
(Source)

Look for simple banners that say ‘Happy Halloween” or a strand of small ghosts like the example below. Just hang them next to product displays to ensure that they are visible!

Cut-out ghosts banner
(Source)

7. Candy displays

Halloween isn’t all just about the spooky stuff, especially when trick-or-treating is such a big part of the holiday. If you sell candy, a Halloween-themed sweets section is the best way to sell as much product as possible.

Haunted house themed chocolate display
(Source)

8. Spiders

If you’re looking for a scarier display for your store, try using some creepy crawlies to spice things up. A classic Halloween decoration that will effectively make passersby look and possibly post about your store on social media. Big spiders, small spiders, a lot of them or just a couple, adjust it to your own liking. Spiders just have a way of adding that Halloween feel to any Halloween merchandising display.

Spooky spider front window display
(Source)

To add more to the spider theme, you should consider adding spider webs as well! Spiderwebs themselves still have a very creepy look to them. So don’t be afraid to experiment with different looks such as cobwebs like the one in the example below. The best part of this Halloween merchandising idea is that you can add webs to any display and instantly add a bit of a Halloween flair to it.

Expert Tip: When buying materials for your merchandising displays, look for multi-holiday use. The fabric used for cobwebs can also be re-used again as snow in winter displays after Halloween!

Faux spider webs used to decorate a chandelier
(Source)

We hope you’re ready to get into the spooky spirit this Halloween season. With these Halloween merchandising ideas, we are sure your store will be spooktacular! Don’t forget to check out our previous blog posts such as our Halloween Marketing Resources for free images for your social media posts. Happy Halloween!

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