How to Speed Up Your Checkout Process and Reduce Customer Wait Times

May 19, 2016


Waiting can take many painful forms: waiting on hold to speak to a customer service representative; waiting in long lines to complete a purchase; or waiting for delivery of an online purchase. 

It’s safe to say that instant gratification is essential for customer satisfaction, and eliminating wait times gets you closer to that goal. 

With 88 percent of customers wanting a faster experience, let’s take a look at how merchants can improve one of the biggest causes of in-store waiting – slow checkout:

A reliable POS system: A dependable and fast Point-of-sale system is the most important part of ensuring a speedy checkout.  Easy-to-use for both employees and customers, your POS system should process purchases in a matter of seconds, to keep lines moving and customers happy.   

Line busters: Why even make people to line up, when you can offer mobile checkout from anywhere in your store, or even on the go.  Mobile checkout can also be a great backup option: if you see your checkout lines getting long, send out an employee with a Smartphone or tablet to process purchases from wherever the customer is standing.

Payment variety: Supporting a broad range of payment types can help speed your checkout process by allowing customers to quickly pay with whatever method they prefer.  If they learn that you don’t accept their preferred choice upon reaching checkout, it can take extra time for them to identify an alternate method, slowing down the checkout process for themselves and other shoppers.

Universal training: If employees aren’t well trained on how to quickly process payments, it doesn’t matter how many options you support or what type of POS system you have.  Employees are the arms and legs of your business.  In order to keep them efficient, you need to provide them with the proper technical knowledge on how to process payments, but also the reasons behind why speedy checkout is essential for business success. 

Reliable backend systems:  Checkout employees often have other responsibilities, particularly at small businesses with limited employees.  This means that the same people responsible for quickly finalizing a purchase, are those that must also check product inventory for a size medium in that popular red sweater.  These customer requests can result in longer checkout lines and longer wait times for other customers.  Payment processing providers offer inventory management and reporting benefits tied to the purchasing solution to package all these activities into one quick-and-easy system.

Abbreviate information gathering:  Whether purchases are made in store or online, merchants often ask for additional information from the customer, such as email address for future promotions or interest in joining a loyalty program.  These simple requests are often slowing the checkout process and increasing wait times.  Allow customers to provide details for such purposes outside the checkout process which may, in fact, encourage them more to opt-in given your apparent respect of their time.

Eliminating long wait times is essential for customer satisfaction, just as long lines and wait times can result in lost customers, purchases and revenue.  Take the time to assess your checkout process and identify ways to appease customers by speeding the time it takes to finalize a purchase with your business.


The information in this article is provided solely for informational purposes and is not intended to be legal, business or other professional advice or an endorsement of any of the websites or services listed.

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