4 Alternative Purchase Options That Will Benefit Your Small Business
Posted by Aaron S. on August 14, 2019 in Retail Focus

The customer experience continues to be a focus for retailers, large and small. Personalization, great product offerings, competitive pricing, and convenience all play their part. Unfortunately, one of the most critical aspects of the customer experience doesn’t even come into play until you have already worked hard to win over your customers and they have decided to make a purchase.


Yep, you guessed it—we are talking about the checkout process. If you don’t nail down this part of the experience, all your hard work could be lost and the customer may not return. According to Synqera, for 73% of customers, the checkout process continues to be the number one pain point of the shopping experience. Customers are looking for a hassle-free, personalized experience that gets them on their way quickly. They are also looking for integration between the online experience and the in-store process. To accomplish this, many retailers are incorporating new and innovative ways to process a purchase.


Listed below are 4 suggestions for alternative payment options that can help support a great customer experience:


  • Mobile POS. When we talk about mobile POS, we are referring to credit transactions that can be processed using a tablet or cell phone operated by an employee of the store.   This option really helps during busy times of the year when you don’t have enough registers to take care of increased customer traffic. This option can also be useful when you have temporary outposts of merchandise, like a sidewalk sale or outdoor lawn-and-garden event.  Mobile POS allows you to complete transactions at convenient locations (like outside), so you don’t have to send your customers back into the store to process the transaction.
  • Self-checkout.  This means you provide your customers with a register or other electronic device that allows them to scan their own items and complete the purchase, typically using a credit card. This option allows your customers to receive a quicker checkout without needing to wait in line for an available cashier. This option also allows your business to run on less payroll during slower times. Just make sure you have an appropriate level of employee support available to help your customers. You don’t want them getting frustrated and leaving without making their purchase. Also, these self-checkout stations should not be the only way to complete a transaction. Keep in mind, not all your customers are tech savvy, so offering a traditional checkout experience nearby is a good idea. 
  • Buy online and pick up in store (BOPIS). This allows your customers to shop on your website using a mobile device and, at their convenience, complete their purchase and have it prepared for in-store pickup. Then, during normal business hours, the customer comes into your store and goes to a designated spot to pick up the order. This option provides your customers more immediate gratification by allowing them to pick up their order the same day, instead of waiting for shipping. This creates a connection between your website and your store, showing customers that you offer a true omni-channel experience.
  • Self-serve online ordering stations. This is a computer or tablet stationed in a permanent location that allows customers to order products from your website, usually without shipping costs, and have them delivered directly to their home. This works well if your store sells larger items like TVs or furniture. This option also has great benefits for the business owner. It allows you to offer a wider product line without needing to house all the product onsite (taking up expensive space). It also allows you to work directly will your supplier and, in some cases, ship directly from the supplier to your customer, reducing time and costs.  
Aaron S. is our Retail guru
Aaron joined Acuity in 2017 as our Retail Specialist—bringing with him almost 30 years of experience in a broad range of retail. He started his career stocking shelves in the seasonal department at a local retailer. A few years later, Aaron transitioned to a gas station/convenience store, where he worked second shift while getting his degree in organizational communications from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. It was during this time he made the move to the loss prevention and safety aspect of retail. Over the next 25 years, he worked in various retail segments, including video games, cosmetics/skincare, hardware/appliances, pharmacy/grocery, and clothing. Aaron held several positions during this time, including District Loss Prevention Manager, Regional Loss Prevention Manager, Regional Compliance Auditor, and National Manager of Loss Prevention and Operations. Outside work, Aaron likes to spend time with his wife (who has also worked in retail for over 20 years) and their twin teenage boys. They enjoy being outdoors on the water, fishing, and camping. As the Retail Specialist, Aaron’s goal is to enhance the partnership between retailers and Acuity by showing retailers that an insurance company can be a supportive resource and that Acuity truly understands their industry.

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