5 retail checkout counter ideas to help improve the customer experience

Editorial Team

5 min read
Customer at checkout counter

Retailers know that a well-designed cash wrap experience is worth its weight in gold. Think of all those last-minute items you grab at the grocery store–from magazines to chapstick to candy.

Deck your retail checkout counter with the right products, and you could reap the rewards of added order value (AOV) with very little additional effort. All it takes is a bit of buyer psychology and some merchandising awareness to be well on your way to increasing your profit margin

Here are 5 retail checkout counter ideas to help improve both your customers’ experience and your revenue.

1. Design with space–and customers–in mind

How you stock your checkout counter display will depend on the products you want to sell, the products your customers want, and the space you have available. Whether you have a single counter and point-of-sale (POS) system, a dual system, or some other layout, you’ll want to consider a balance between efficiency and product exposure. In other words, you don’t want your customers waiting in line too long, but you also want to give them a chance to check out the cool products you have at the cash wrap. 

Steve Mitchaell, co-owner of retail gift store 72 West, likes to get creative with his space. Mitchaell says, “The wall behind the checkout area is our feature wall and is where we place larger ticket items like seasonal pillows, floral artwork, and a collage of mirrors. We also have a side counter at the checkout that customers can impulse shop for things like stickers or small seasonal décor. And, we always try to keep one or two fun items at the counter that people can pick up last minute.” 

Regardless of the size and shape of your store, it’s recommended that you place your cash wrap on the left side of your store. That’s because most shoppers turn right when entering the store–something called the “invariant right.” So, having your cash wrap on the left side allows for a natural movement ending with the cash wrap. Thinking of how your customers move through your store can help you decide where to place different kinds of products. 

2. Showcase your best selling products

When it comes to creating the customer experience at checkout, a tried and true method is to stock sample sizes of your best-selling items. That can help you capture a broader range of customers: folks who were considering buying the full size but opted out because of cost, curious customers who want to try without commitment, bargain shoppers who love a deal, travelers who might be in the market for travel-size items, and impulse buyers who just want a little bit of something cool. 

While you might have a good feel for which products are most popular, Clover’s Reporting feature can help you know exactly which products are bestsellers. What’s more, it allows you to forecast exactly how many items you’ll need to keep in stock, so you don’t sell out.

READ: How to use Clover Reporting to forecast sales

3. Tap into impulse buys

For small retailers, last-minute impulse buys can add up–and provide a more substantial percentage of revenue than you might think.

Clover merchant Ben Gloria of Your Toy Link says, “Impulse buying is our bread and butter. That’s where we make the most sales. We have booster packs for $3.99-$5.99 behind the counter by the register. We have pins $2-$15 also behind the register. Then we have single trading cards from $1 to $200+. You need to provide options and convenience so that you can target every type of impulse at the register.”

Since the recent economic downturn, Gloria has been more strategic about product placement. He says, “Our goal is to have customers spend less per visit but increase weekly visits. It allows them to have fun but also manage their budget.” With that in mind, Gloria displays the $1 cards just as nicely as the $200 or even $1,000 cards so that buyers see value across all the cards. 

Gloria also uses Clover item sales reporting and categorizes it by quantity. “That’s how we decide what goes by the register and what gets put elsewhere on the sales floor,” he says. “Last month, we sold 1000s of cards and a couple of hundred booster packs. The psychology is similar to a coffee shop. One coffee a day may not seem like much but three to four times a week adds up quickly.”

4. Update and promote your offerings

Surprise and delight your customers with updates and variations in your cash wrap offerings. Clover merchant Steve Mitchaell, co-owner of 72 West says, “We always try to keep our counter and checkout area fresh with new merchandise. And, we also rotate the décor with the seasons.” 

Speaking of seasonal offerings, one way to mix it up and increase average order value (AOV) is to offer gift bundles, discounts, and promotions during the holidays. The cash wrap is a great place to feature seasonal bundles for last-minute gift options, special discounted items, and promotional programs. 

At the same time, gift cards and a well-designed loyalty program never go out of season. You could even upsell by offering a complimentary product on display once your customers reach a given price point.

5. Invest in employee training

No matter how well a retail checkout counter is designed, in the end, a great customer experience often comes down to relationships. While employee training should include cashier marketing–that is, how to upsell–customer experience largely depends on how customers feel about that final interaction at the point of sale. Did they feel a personal connection? Were they delighted with the products and the service? Were their problems solved? Customer experience and your brand are defined by what you offer customers and how you deliver it to them. 

Be sure to peruse our Meet the Merchant series for more on how Clover helps retailers run their businesses. And, learn how our retail POS and payment solutions can help improve the customer experience at checkout, schedule a free and personalized demo with our sales team today.

Popular Topics

Recent Stories

Please share your contact information
to access our premium content.