10 retail checkout counter ideas to help improve the customer experience

Editorial Team

5 min read
Customer at checkout counter

Given the ease, speed, and flexibility of online shopping, brick-and-mortar retailers may struggle to get customers through the door. This was true before the pandemic, but lockdown restrictions and capacity limits have made it even more challenging today.


Fortunately, there are strategies you can adopt to help make shopping in your physical store every bit as appealing as shopping from the comfort of one’s couch. Below are 10 retail checkout counter ideas to help improve the in-store customer experience.

1. Prioritize safety

COVID-19 turned practically everyone into armchair epidemiologists, with many consumers understandably wary about transmissible illnesses. Shopping from home enables customers to purchase the items they need or want without having to share space in an aisle, maintain six feet of distance in line, or touch the POS card reader.

While you can’t eliminate contact completely at your brick-and-mortar location, you can help minimize unnecessary touching by offering contactless payment options. With the right POS terminal, customers only need to wave their card or mobile device across the reader – without having to sign any receipts or touch any keypads.

If you don’t already offer contactless payments, this one change could help make a huge difference. Additionally, consider installing plexiglass to minimize contact between cashiers and customers, and place hand sanitizer on or near the counter so shoppers can easily disinfect their hands.

2. Run discounts and promotions

It’s hard to beat online prices, but as a brick-and-mortar retailer, you have one advantage: You don’t have to worry about shipping costs. This cost savings allows you the flexibility to run deals and promotions that make your prices competitive with those of eCommerce merchants in the same space. Advertise your promotions with engaging signage on your checkout counter or on TV screens behind you.

3. Invest in employee training

Another advantage you have over online retailers is interacting face to face with customers. You have opportunities to build relationships, which is something online merchants can’t easily do with their mostly anonymous customers.

Better customer service training is essential for fostering those relationships. All customers deserve a smile. Remember, each sale represents a vote of confidence in your business. Ask your employees to show gratitude in return.

Customer service training can also include upselling and meaningful marketing. No one likes to be sold to, but cashiers should always be on the lookout for ways in which they can help solve whatever problems your customers might be facing. When done correctly, cashier marketing benefits both sides of every transaction.

4. Accept more payment types

Brick-and-mortar retailers have another competitive advantage over eMerchants: They can accept more payment types. While both types of stores can take credit cards, debit cards, and gift cards, online retailers can’t easily process cash, checks, or mobile wallets. Consider adding and promoting as many payment types as you can to help attract more customers.

5. Increase payment speeds

Customers don’t like to wait in line, especially if they’re trying to minimize contact with other shoppers. Invest in a payment solution that can process transactions as quickly as possible. Your customers might not directly thank you, but they may indirectly express their gratitude by repeatedly visiting your store.

6. Expand the retail checkout counter

Another strategy involves expanding your definition of a checkout counter. With a portable POS device, for example, you can quickly process payments anywhere in the store – which helps to shorten lines even more.

This portability also allows you to begin offering curbside pickup, off-site delivery, and online ordering capabilities – all of which move you closer to the shopping experiences that eCommerce retailers provide.

7. Install a better checkout counter display

Even with ultra-fast payment processing, long lines are sometimes inevitable. You can help make these wait times less painful by installing entertaining displays at the checkout counter. From trivia quizzes to engaging photos to digital screens, there are many ways to distract customers so that the time passes more quickly.

8. Tap into impulses

Another strategy to engage customers involves installing your best-selling items as close to the cashier as possible. Although this tactic benefits you more than the customer, there’s a reason why supermarkets add gossip magazines, candy, and other temptations to the cash wrap experience. These additions help generate last-minute impulse purchases.

9. Launch a loyalty program

Want customers to return? Give them a reason to do so by offering loyalty perks that accumulate with each successive visit. Just be sure to add this upselling technique to your employee training. Add signage promoting your program, or display a number they can text to join your program and receive a discount on their current purchase.

10. Sell more gift cards

Accepting gift cards is another method for helping to increase foot traffic. Gift cards help attract new customers that may not have otherwise shopped at your store. You can customize them with your brand, logo, and colors, and display them right on your counter.

A retail POS solution that does it all

At Clover, our retail POS solutions include a range of powerful features designed to help make the checkout process as fast, convenient, and secure as possible, including:

  • Contactless payment capabilities
  • Loyalty program management
  • Support for digital and physical gift cards
  • Portable and countertop POS terminals

To learn how our POS and payment solutions can help improve the customer experience at checkout, schedule a free and personalized demo with our sales team today.