Retailers lose millions each year due to check-out misery

Store owners need to listen to staff to overcome POS problems


UK retailers are missing out on millions of pounds in lost sales by not listening to staff who’ve spotted a vital need to improve customer service at the check-out, according to Miura Systems.

The mPOS specialist commissioned data and insights consultancy Davies Hickman Partners to interview hundreds of store staff, shoppers and senior retail executives in order to better understand the world of retail and payments today.

The resulting white paper "When Worlds Collide: Store staff and shoppers in retail today" shows that retailers have a long way to go to improve the shopping experience, with only 45% of consumers believing it’s more fun to visit a store than shop online.

“The research clearly highlights the value of retailers listening more to their frontline staff, who’ve seen shoppers walk out of the store because of negative experiences at the till”, said Ian Rutland, CEO of Miura Systems. “Based on their estimates, UK retailers are each losing over £110,000 every year on average in lost sales as a result. Retailers can help minimise these losses by introducing the right technology to empower their staff, enable faster checkouts and create an overall more positive shopping experience for customers.

Part of the challenge is that shoppers today have heightened expectations over the in-store customer experience, and are increasingly tech savvy. For example, nearly three-quarters of store staff interviewed (72%) claimed customers are more demanding than they used to be, even asking them questions when they’re serving another customer.

And 80% of retail staff said shoppers put pressure on them to hurry when there is a queue. In total, over a quarter (26%) of shoppers said they wanted faster payment authorisation. It’s also not an uncommon site these days to see shoppers armed with a smartphone, giving them access to comparative shopping prices. Some 70% of staff said shoppers are often on their phones while they are serving them.

A chip and PIN reboot

It also appears that, a decade after launching, chip and PIN needs a makeover. Over 40% of store staff said that if there was one technology improvement they would make to their store, it would be a more up-to-date POS system. This chimes with what shoppers feel: 41% claimed chip and PIN terminals are often worn and dirty while 33% said they wanted more up-to-date machines.

A new approach to POS allowing staff to roam the store with mobile chip and PIN terminals would help to bust queues at the till and improve the shopping experience, allowing staff to provide advice during the payment process.

In fact, of those consumers interviewed who had shopped this way in an Apple Store in the past two years, 90% thought it was faster than using the till and 82% claimed other stores should roll-out similar systems.

Source: Miura Systems