With all the talk of new payment options and omnichannel support, it's clear that businesses have an increased focus on satisfying customers at the point of sale. However, for all that technology and innovation, there's one rule that hasn't changed: a lack of speed kills.

Everyone's waited at a checkout counter at one point or another. Whether it's because there was a rush at the store during a sale or the clerk experienced technical trouble, consumers are always frustrated by delays. Although it might seem like a mere inconvenience, it could actually lead to lost sales and poor relationships with customers. Moreover, if that's allowed to become a long-term issue, a merchant's reputation would suffer.

According to data found on RetailCustomerExperience, 50 percent of customers avoid businesses with wait times over five minutes. Furthermore, almost half of respondents said that they don't go to businesses where one of their acquaintances had a long wait.

Lost sales should be enough of a motivation for every merchant to improve speed at the checkout counter. Let's consider some potential solutions to keep lines moving:

1. Provide training for clerks

Clerks who aren't properly trained on different payment types and the POS software are among the biggest holdups at checkout. First and foremost, any employee who's given a lane must understand how to scan products and handle procedures like signing people up for loyalty programs and enrolling them in store credit cards.

What's more, clerks and cashiers must also understand all the different payment types that their business accepts. That means that merchants have to provide training for EMV, mobile payments and everything in between to ensure that every payment happens quickly and easily.

2. Enable omnichannel support

A digital store might be the best tool for easing traffic in a brick-and-mortar shop. Consumers have come to expect and demand omnichannel offerings like in-store pickup for online orders, which would take them out of the traditional checkout process. All it takes to get started is the right payments platform like Genius in order to capitalize on this growing trend.

3. Understand demand

As with all aspects of operating a business, long lines can be fixed by studying some data. Analyzing how long customers are waiting, what days and times have the longest delays and how many lanes were open. These statistics will give insight into the root cause of long lines so that the appropriate solution can be implemented immediately. 

​​How Does Speed at Checkout Influence Consumers?