How to bust holiday checkout lines with innovative payments

The holiday shopping season is fast approaching. Retailers of all sizes are preparing their physical and digital storefronts for eager custo
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Today’s shoppers have little patience for lines, crowds and endless winding through store aisles hunting for the products they came to purchase. This means, during the mad dash of the holiday, convenience is the name of the game.

There are numerous options to choose from – the most seamless experiences for your customers will come from thoughtfully choosing the right mix of POS technologies and staffing strategies for your business. Here are several payments strategies and technologies to consider for the best multichannel shopping and checkout experience:

Online window-shopping before visiting your store: Give customers the opportunity to search for gift ideas long before they step in the store. Creating an interactive, dynamic online catalog or website experience will enhance the shopping experience; let customers choose items ahead of time and feel less “stuck” in the busy retail space when they come to make a final purchase. Encouraging shoppers to do their own research online not only ensures they are ready to buy when they walk into your store, but it frees up customer service staff to assist more customers faster.

Multiple payment options at the register: Make sure you have a point-of-sale system that supports the many emerging payment methods that shoppers prefer. While you can’t account for every option, be ready to accept the most popular credit cards, debit cards, mobile wallets, and digital payment services like PayPal and Apple Pay. Offering payment flexibility and choice will not only make customers feel more confident about their purchases, it will also speed up the process for your staff; mobile wallets have become the fastest and most secure way to pay, and their use now rivals traditional payment methods. Further, sending e-receipts by email or text will speed up the final steps at the register – making both shoppers and employees happier with the process.

Checkout anywhere in the store: What better way to bust those holiday lines than to offer in-store customers a way to check out without ever standing in one? Strategically placed sales staff equipped with a tablet, smart terminal or phone with the right app can help shoppers pay and get on their way quickly, wherever they are in the store. Already popular at large retailers, even smaller retailers can easily integrate mobile payment environments without a significant investment in technology.

Buy online, pick up in-store or curbside: Retailers with brick-and-mortar fronts can benefit from offering the option to buy online and pick up in-store. Multichannel shopping experiences gives customers more flexibility and control in the purchasing process and expedites their checkout experience once they are in the store. Further, research also shows that in-store and curbside pickup options tend to lead to additional and repeat purchases from shoppers – going into the holiday shopping season, 35% of consumers are likely to use buy online-pickup in-store options and 30% intend to shop via curbside pickup.

Ship-to-home option at the register: In-person shopping satisfies the desire for a tactile experience and feels more personal. But if lines tend to form, train associates to help customers locate their desired item on your website from their mobile phone. Customers can pay online for something they’ve seen in-store and have it shipped without waiting in line – lessening inventory management burdens for retailers and streamlining the payment process.

Remember: if shoppers have committed to buying a product, your job is to get them through checkout as swiftly as possible. Crafting a thoughtful, convenient shopping experience is critical for happy customers, large purchases, and repeat business. Ensuring you have the right payments partner for the holiday retail season is essential for customer experience and business success.

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