Now more than ever the American people will be turning to local businesses to meet their families’ nutritional needs. With the economic impact of COVID-19 the number of applicants for government assistance has doubled. As part of the U.S. government’s $2T stimulus package, an additional $15.5B has been allocated to the SNAP/EBT government benefits program.
Is Your Checkout Counter Helping or Hurting Your Sales?
The checkout counter is the last chance to get customers to purchase additional items and leaves a lasting impression in customers' minds. Making sure your counter has a tempting “selling zone” that draws in impulse shoppers to increase your profits. Understanding what is working and how you can improve can make all the difference. If you believe your checkout counter does not need improvement, understand that “no matter what you’re selling, a disorganized store filled with cluttered shelves introduces an unnecessary barrier to customer purchases”. Check out these do’s and don’ts to see if your checkout area needs reworking.
- Display your current sales, promotions, and relevant items; promotions can vary from 'two for one' deals to a discounted service. Big sales should be used to push new products at the register to really tempt the customer. Relevant items can include holiday, seasonal, or themed items.
- Display relevant information; if you have a loyalty program or other important information about your c-store such as renovations, then use your counter space to display this information.
- Choose items that are durable; since these products are by the register many people may pick them up and touch them so you want to make sure it will hold up and keep its quality. Items should also be customizable, "custom solutions are a great way to gain an edge on the competition. You can choose specially sized and shaped fixtures to fit your store’s odd spaces, and match the color to your existing color palate". Depending on your location and customer demographic your customizable items are going to vary.
- Maximize your wall space; after you choose the items that you want to display you want to make sure you are not only using your counters but also maximizing your wall space. This will help to keep your counters free of clutter and have an open space for you and your customers to interact.
- Choose a Counter Design; when thinking about your counter design you want to be intentional for what will work for your c-store, "Everything has a place, from the cascading display to the built-in countertop racks on an angle facing the customer, and it was placed for the customer’s convenience.The customer did not feel crowded and had ample opportunity to see a variety of enticing products.” Always be on the lookout for new and innovative display opportunities that will match your store and customer base.
Here are a few examples of product displays and how you can push products without overwhelming the customers:
- Put items in the wrong places; it is important to put items in the right spaces and also keeping products regularly stocked. Many customers may be put off by random empty spaces or by their favorite item missing from the shelves.
- Have a counter that is too high or has an unnecessary covering; a high countertop creates distance and disconnection to the customers. If you have to have a larger case for security purposes keep it neat and do not cover the glass so that customers have a hard time seeing ad communicating with you.
- Be afraid to put things on your checkout counter or talk to your customers; do not be scared to upsell or annoy customers with things on your checkout counter. Many of your products will sell themselves if you have them properly displayed.
- Have a cluttered or disorganized counter space; no matter what you’re selling, a disorganized store filled with cluttered shelves introduces an unnecessary barrier to customer purchases.
- Overwhelm customers with items not for sale: registers, cords, paperwork, purses, jackets, or returned merchandise do not have a place on your checkout counter or
- Leave your customers with a negative lasting impression; the only thing worse than a customer not purchasing a last minute item is leaving your customer with an experience that makes them not come back at all.
Here are some examples of counters that you should avoid:
Overall, one of the best ways to make your counter unique is by putting time and thought into it. Think about the stores that have counters that you like and try to re-create those designs. Pay attention to how things are organized and make sure that your checkout counter organization makes sense. Pick the most relevant items and don't be afraid to engage with customers about the items on or near your checkout counter.