Odds are, you put a ridiculous amount of thought into the design of your business.
You probably agonized over a million choices from your branding and shop location, to the decor like flooring, product display, furniture, countertop material, and lighting. All of your thoughtful selections reflect your style, brand, and how you want customers to feel during their time in your shop.
And yet, until very recently, you had almost no choice when it came to selecting your point-of-sale hardware. If you shopped for point-of-sale equipment two years ago, you probably discovered a lackluster selection of black boxes, bulky touch screens, and tons of wires. Despite the level of care you put into your shop thus far, you relented and purchased the kluge of boxy, wire-laden machinery and placed it in the most critical location in your shop – directly between you and your customer.
Two years ago, your customers overlooked the discrepancy between the design of your point of sale and the design of the rest of your shop. But, times have changed. Today, we have all experienced exemplary checkout experiences in our favorite stores: an efficient process, smart use of current technology, a friendly and knowledgeable employee, and beautiful hardware.
In short, the bar has risen. It’s important that your shop keep pace, because neglecting your point-of-sale experience these days will communicate a lack of care to your customers. Mismatched branding, a cluttered or disorderly appearance, and dated machinery and technology, can send a mixed message, and shift the customer’s focus away from the human interaction.
When properly designed, point of sale can be about creating a connection and a personalized experience. Here’s how you can ensure this very important customer touch point is the best it can be:
Remember, the focus of point of sale should be human interaction – the opportunity to connect personally with your customer. With this in mind, hide as much as possible. Don’t let unnecessary elements become a distraction – something that stands between you and the customer. At point of sale, remove clutter, hide wires, papers, and gadgets – what remains on the counter should be unobtrusive and tie into the rest of the store.
Make it interesting
The point-of-sale equipment that remains in view should be interesting. There’s no easier way to engage your customer in conversation than by responding to their compliments of your shop and your cool point-of-sale. A creative take on your point of sale won’t go unnoticed by your customers.
Be authentic and keep it consistent
Remember, your shop is a commercial business, not a child’s playground. The overuse of plastic can be off-putting to your customers. Authentic materials such as wood, glass, and steel naturally resonate with people – plastic does not. You likely did not design plastic into other areas of your shop – keep it out of your point as sale as well.
Think beyond just the conventional, stationary point of sale. This should be only one checkout option for your customers. Think about being on hand to checkout the customer wherever they stand in your shop. The Apple Store is the best example of this. And while Apple’s deep pockets enabled them to be among the first retailer to implement mobile point-of-sale technology, these features are now within reach of small business.
When was the last time you were at a shop that used a knuckle-buster credit card imprinter? Hopefully, it has been a while. Dated machinery and technology can send the wrong message to the customer. In some cases it can convey a lack of flexibility and security, not to mention out-of-date equipment can also significantly slow down the checkout process. While knuckle-busters are obviously antiquated equipment, in the age of the iPad, customers also perceive the clunky point-of-sale touch-screens of the 90s as dated. Today’s tablet computers are fast and powerful, and your customers know it.
Think about the message you want to communicate customers. Does your design convey your vision and the passion you have for your business? Is it consistent throughout? Does it show thought and care went into every component? From your signage to displays to the point of sale, be sure the aesthetic is authentic to your brand. Your customers will feel it the instance they set foot in your space.