Is the in-store checkout counter becoming obsolete? Doing away with cashiers altogether  is pretty extreme. However, in a recent survey by Zebra , 80% of retail decision-makers and 49% of retail associates believe new technology is making the traditional checkout area less necessary than it used to be.
Cloud-based point-of-sale systems that run on tablets and smartphones allow you to take the checkout process anywhere in your store. Nearly 60% of retailers plan to increase spending on handheld computers and 21% plan to spend more on tablets in the next three years, Zebra reports. Going mobile with checkout technology frees up some of the space you’re currently devoting to cash registers and wrap stations. But how can you best maximize this precious real estate?
Turn unused checkout space into places for customers to engage with your store in a way that prompts more purchases, builds loyalty or helps market your business. Here are 9 ideas.
Checkout Area Ideas
1. Self-checkout: 52% of retail decision makers in Zebra’s survey are converting point-of-sale (POS) space to self-checkout. Assess your customer base, tech-savvy and needs before adding self-checkout, and be aware you’ll need sales associates on hand to help out.
2. In-store pickup for buy-online, pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) shoppers: 62% of retail decision-makers in Zebra’s survey are transforming checkout areas into online order pickup.
3. Online ordering station: Do you sell products online? If so, create a station where your staff helps customers place orders for products you don’t have in-store
4. Information station: Set up a dedicated spot where customers can get personalized assistance with their shopping or ask questions and get information.
5. Social media space: Create a “social wall” with an eye-catching background designed for selfies. (Make sure it includes your store name.) Paint your wall permanently or use different backdrops to mix it up for events, seasons, etc. Create a store hashtag and ask customers to use it in their posts. Encourage more selfies by offering a discount code for posting.
6. Demonstration or sampling area: A cookware store can demonstrate cooking techniques or products; a cosmetics store can do makeovers; a music supply store can create a space for musicians to “rock out” on the instruments.
7. Refreshment bar: Offering coffee, tea, ice water and treats is a great way to get customers to stay longer.
8. Multipurpose space: Use your new-found space for events to draw customers. For instance, you can invite other retailers to do in-store pop-up shops in the space, provide entertainment for shoppers such as live bands, or host a book signing or fashion show. (By keeping the space open, you can also use it to merchandise products when you don’t have an event going on.)
9. Impulse buy area: Turn unused space near your remaining checkout area into a display of low-priced impulse or add-on items that can get consumers to spend more in your store. (Get more tips on how to encourage impulse purchases .)
In order for these ideas to work, make sure you have:
- Up-to-date mobile technology and POS
- A robust wireless network in place (with guest Wi-Fi for your shoppers) so both your team and your customers can get online fast
- Well-trained employees who can execute the changes you’re making in your checkout area
People visit brick-and-mortar stores to enjoy an experience they can’t get online . Transform your excess checkout space into space that enhances the shopper experience, and your store will benefit.