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How to Optimize the Point of Sale

How to Optimize the Point of Sale

The point of sale, or POS as it is often referred to, is more than just the final step in your customers’ visit to your business. It can be a discussion point, a chance to gauge customer interest, and much more. Optimizing POS means making the process more efficient, and most of all, quicker. Here are some ways to maximize your POS’s effectiveness and keep those lines moving.

Keep Questions Simple

One of the main issues that retailers face regarding their POS is that there are far too many or overly complicated questions asked during the sale. While it’s understandable that your business will likely ask things such as: “did you find everything you needed today?” or “would you like to join our email list?” too many questions can soon become a hindrance.

Keep your POS questions simple and specifically oriented toward things like signing up customers for a reward program or email list. This will not only help alleviate the growing line at the checkout, but it will help customers feel at ease as they complete their purchase.

It’s important that your customers are as comfortable as possible, and asking too many questions only serves to add to their stress levels. Try to keep your questions as focused as possible, opting for closed-ended questions versus open-ended ones.

Use the Right POS System

This is a big one; especially if you’re a new business. Using outdated or otherwise obsolete equipment for your POS is asking for trouble. Customers will become frustrated with a malfunctioning or difficult POS system, as will the person operating it.

Be sure to stay up to date with trending POS equipment and upgrade yours if you’re using outdated tools. Modern POS systems are usually thinner, lighter, and more secure than a traditional cash register.

Brands like Square and Shopify take security very seriously, which is one of the reasons why they are so popular with users. Be sure to check your next POS’s security features before making a final decision. You customer’s privacy and the security of their financial information should be a top priority.

Try a Self-Service Kiosk

You’ve probably seen these self-service kiosks at retail or grocery stores. These unique systems usually have shorter lines and quicker turnaround than their manned counterparts. Customers will appreciate the chance to get through the lines quickly and the ability to bag their own items.

A surprising fact about self-checkout apps or kiosks is that many businesses report increased sales due to these changes; possibly because by eliminating the social friction of talking with a clerk, the customer feels more at ease, and therefore more likely to purchase extra items.

A self-service kiosk can be programmed to do just about anything you need it to, from always upselling to showing ads for extra sales. Not to mention you’ll be saving labor costs by making the switch.

Upgrade Your Internet Connection

An internet connection that isn’t fast enough to process your credit card transactions quickly can become a serious problem once you begin experiencing higher sales numbers. Lines can build up as the internet struggles to catch up with the sheer number of transactions, making it frustrating for customers waiting to pay for their items.

Upgrading your internet connection will ensure that credit transactions are completed quickly and securely, keeping lines moving and ensuring your customer’s satisfaction with their visit. Remember that the speed and efficiency of your checkout process is a huge factor in whether or not your customers leave satisfied.

Accepting Various Payment Methods

Methods of payment like Apple Pay are designed to assist in making the checkout process at the POS a no-hassle experience. Flexibility when it comes to payment methods will help optimize your POS systems and keep those lines moving.

New and frequent customers alike will appreciate your business’s flexibility with payment methods, setting you apart from the competition. There are many stores that don’t accept payment methods such as Apple Pay, which can be disappointing for die-hard Apple users.

Offer Email Receipts

One of the simplest methods for optimizing your POS is to offer emailed receipts instead of printed ones. This has a threefold effect: it saves paper and ink costs for your business, it saves the customer from having to carry and keep track of a paper receipt, and it makes the checkout process that much quicker by avoiding the need to wait for a printer.

Email receipts work exactly the same as a printed receipt and can be used to return or exchange items in the same manner. It’s also easier to keep track of, as we all know paper receipts often become wedged between car seats, dropped on the ground, or simply lost within a pile of similar receipts.

You can also provide a link to a customer satisfaction survey with the emailed receipt, so you’re simultaneously sending a receipt and a chance for the customers to let your business know how their visit was. This insight is critical to making important changes and learning about your customers’ wants and needs.


Optimizing your POS means improving customer experience and satisfaction by cutting down on time and increasing the efficiency of the system. Certain optimizations, such as self-service, can also help your business save money on labor costs, and help boost sales. Having the correct POS system is a major component in creating the best checkout experience for your customers, so be sure to choose a system that best suits the needs of your business.

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by Harvey Carr // Harvey Carr is a contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.