5 Unique Ways To Spice Up Your Retail Checkout Counter

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Explore different strategies for leveraging your retail checkout counter space to influence customer behavior, drive more purchases, and more.

In retail, the last point of contact between you and your customer is often the checkout counter. By the time a customer arrives there, they’ve already been drawn into your store, browsed around, interacted with salespeople, and they’re finally ready for you the ring them up.

While this space is mainly transactional, that doesn’t mean it can’t serve your brand and greater customer experience at the same time. Take advantage of your checkout counter and use it as an opportunity to surprise and delight your patrons.

By combining function and fashion along with a little innovation, you can utilize any one of the following strategies to spice up your retail checkout counter.

While not all of these ideas may suit your business model, they should serve as a good indicator of what kind of things consumers might like to see.

Ideas for Retail Checkout Counters 

1. Designate An “Express” Lane

Have you ever been waiting in line to checkout with one small item, and Connie Coupon was holding up the whole operation with her questions, discounts, and Black-Friday-looking-hoard of items? Even if the situation hasn’t been that extreme, people who are in a rush appreciate being met with the same degree of urgency.

By partitioning off part of your checkout counter to serve guests with a certain number of items (or less), people coming to make returns, or folks coming to pick up an online order, you show your customers that you care about their needs and value their time. Even a small gesture like this can speak volumes and drive repeat business thanks to the convenience of knowing they’ll never be held up.

And the cost to you? A couple of signs and some quick staff training! Check out this example from Chipotle—the yummy masters of efficiency.

Chipotle example of express pickup line
Photo Credit: Skift Table

2. Stock Up With Small Items To Browse

No matter what measures you take to build efficiency, lines can end up being inevitable at checkout. A good way to turn waiting (a notoriously tedious and negative thing) into a positive customer experience is by giving them something to look at!

Lining your checkout counter with small items, magazines, and add-ons can be a great way to not only keep folks busy, but it also inspires impulse purchases. No more boredom for them, and added revenue for you! If you’re curious about the benefit of encouraging impulse purchases, check out our guide to building effective retail displays throughout your store and visit our checkout space section!

Barnes & Noble takes this idea to the extreme by creating an entirely new aisle leading up to their checkout with a seriously diverse selection of add ons.

Barnes & Noble example of driving impulse purchases
Photo Credit: Business Insider

3. Incorporate Technology

The term “technology” alone can often conjure up futuristic images of robots and virtual reality displays. But on a scale of 1 to an Apple Store, your sweet spot as a non-tech-focused retailer can really be around a five.

Simple elements like TV screens and tablets can dually draw attention and inform customers of things like exciting promotions going on. A dynamic element like a television allows you to constantly change up your display by adding or changing graphics without actually having to re-design your space. This can save you major time and money in the long run.

We’ve even seen retailers make their checkout counters more interactive by inviting customers to use their cellphones to bring technology into the picture by advertising a text-enabled keyword by the register. Pull out your phone, text in a code, and receive a discount. Simple, and fun! Learn more about text marketing for retailers.

[Watch: How to Set Up a Text-4-Info Keyword]

example of technology used at checkout
Photo Credit: IPEVO Blog

4. Strategically Utilize Lighting Fixtures and Color

As humans, we are visual consumers by nature. We take in and process a majority of stimulus through our eyes. By feeding your customers things that their visual cortices deem pleasurable, you can change and manipulate their mood.

When it comes to lighting, you can draw attention to certain items or elements at your checkout counter through spotlight features or uplighting. Some retailers even go as far as dimming near everything around a focal point and illuminating one central focus.

Color, on the other hand, is a little more subliminal. Choosing a color scheme for your checkout counter depends entirely on the kind of mood you’d like to inspire:

  • Yellow for optimism, clarity, and warmth
  • Orange for cheerfulness and confidence
  • Red for excitement youth, and boldness
  • Purple for creativity, imagination, and wisdom
  • Blue for trust, dependability, and strength
  • Green for peace, growth, and health
  • White/Black/Grey for balance, neutrality, and calmness
Color emotion guide
Photo Credit: Oberlo

5. Share Your Brand Story

Consumers today are far more conscious of what they’re buying and who they’re buying it from. They like to associate values and identity to their purchases. That can be a tall order for some brands, and sharing that kind of information with your customers can be difficult without having the chance to sit down and give them your elevator pitch.

But while waiting in line you have customer’s attention, making it the perfect opportunity to pitch your mission. Through creative wall art, signs, or any other visual expression, use your retail checkout counter as a space to share your story!

Brand warriors like SoulCycle take this concept and run (or rather stationary bike…) with it by splashing their brand values across the walls!

Example of SoulCycle sharing brand story at checkout
Photo Credit: Boston Magazine

If you’ve sensed a theme across these suggestions, you’re onto something. Each of the above ideas is all about brand expression. While any retailer can take an idea and run with it, it’s about inserting what makes your business unique into the equation.

We may be able to jump-start the think tank, but the execution is left for you and all your awesomeness. At SimpleTexting we’re always a resource if you need us, especially for getting going with point #3 above! Just click on the blue chat button on the bottom of your screen and your magic marketing answers genie will be with you shortly!

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