If your checkout counter has been an afterthought all the times you’ve sought to improve your in-store experience, it’s time to take a new approach. These fresh retail checkout counter ideas won’t just make waiting in line a little more enjoyable, but they’ll also help make a lasting impression on your customers.

Make a few of these changes and you’ll end up with happier shoppers, stronger brand recognition, and more word-of-mouth buzz about your store. Best of all, most of these retail checkout counter ideas don’t take a lot of time or money to implement, so let’s get to it!

1. Encourage Customers to Create Social Buzz 

There’s hardly a small business left that doesn’t understand the power of social media, so how about transforming your checkout counter into a picture-worthy backdrop that will inspire your customers to post about their visit? 

You can also encourage social sharing by displaying your brand’s hashtags and handles in a prominent location at your counter. Additionally, you might create challenges or contests to encourage customers to get online.

For instance, a ski shop could display their Instagram handle and write “Tag us in your best powder pic of the day and you might get featured!” or a salon could write “Love your new style? Tag us in your before and after photos for a chance to win a free appointment.” Simple messages like these can spark engagement and user-generated content, both of which are extremely valuable for your small business. 

2. Appeal to Your Shoppers’ Senses

Here’s one of the tastier retail checkout counter ideas on the list: Appeal to the senses by adding unique scents and/or tastes that will draw people in. Depending on the type of business you run, this might mean offering free chocolate with purchases over a qualifying amount or even selling a small selection of snacks and beverages for them to enjoy while they shop or head out the door.

While free food or candy isn’t appropriate for every business, it can make an impact on customer perception and their overall enjoyment of their visit. Of course, you can appeal to the senses with much more than food. The right scents, for example, can energize or relax your customers and even contribute to creating a signature-branded experience.

3. Provoke Thoughts and Discussions

One of the simplest ways you can make the checkout line fly by and ensure it sticks with your shoppers after they leave the store is beyond simple: Say something. You might put a statement or quote on a chalkboard at the counter, something interesting and relevant that customers will want to remember and share.

Alternatively, you might post a question of the day, a riddle, or a trivia question to get customers thinking. You can then offer discounts or freebies for customers with the best answer or you can simply refuse to give them the solution and entice them to check your social pages for the answer. There are so many options, so take these retail checkout counter ideas and make them your own!

4. Embrace Seasonal Opportunities

Aside from making your counter fun and festive, adding decorations, themed signage, and other components can help bring your counter to life year-round. If you can incorporate a branded hashtag or even an in-store giveaway, you can make the season that much more memorable.

One of the best seasonal retail checkout counter ideas is incorporating a holiday-themed giveaway into the purchasing experience. You might offer an entry for each purchase or for every dollar spent, for example. Aside from making the prize relevant to your store and the season, it should also be big and exciting enough to get customers talking about it. 

Not only can these seasonal changes improve the experiences of your customers, but they can also help offset seasonal changes in demand and sales by keeping your best shoppers engaged, excited, and ready to return. 

5. Offer Entertainment While They Wait

An old arcade game or some other fixture in your store can work wonders when it comes to transforming the checkout experience. The right idea can even strengthen your brand persona. For instance, a retro clothing store might feature a jukebox with carefully selected tunes to get people talking, posting, and loving their brand. 

For long lines and small spaces, one of the best retail checkout counter ideas is something dentists have been doing for ages: Turn on a television to help the time fly. If you don’t have big bucks to invest in a cool pinball machine (or the space to stow it), a TV backdrop gives you the chance to display branded or non-branded content to your shoppers while they wait. 

6. Go The Extra Mile for Every Customer

Upgrading how you package customer purchases is a great tip to help put a smile on every customer’s face as they head out the door. High-end clothing stores invest in this trick all the time, often packaging up purchases as if they’re luxury gifts, using tissue paper and branded boxes and bags to make the customer feel like they’re getting something really special.

Beyond packaging, you should also include goodies for shoppers that encourage return visits. This could be a gift certificate for a future visit or a loyalty card that puts them on the path to a freebie. The first time you give a customer a loyalty card, you can even make them feel extra special by giving them an extra punch on it. 

7. Don’t Pressure Buyers to Spend More

Strategically placing up-sells and cross-sells is a smart business tactic, but our final tip for improving your checkout counter experience is avoiding pressure. When you’ve already earned a customer’s business, making them feel forced to buy even more can really put them off your brand.

Teaching your sales staff the importance of reading customers, making personalized recommendations, and gently offering additional items is essential. After all, if there’s one component that will make or break your checkout counter experience, it’s the people running it.

With all of that in mind, improving your customer’s checkout experience isn’t hard, especially if you have a quick and reliable payment terminal to power the whole thing without costing your business a lot of extra fees. If that’s something you’re in the market for, reach out to NMA.

About NMA

NMA is a merchant advocacy group dedicated to reducing or eliminating the unnecessary fees associated with accepting credit card payments. Since 2004, NMA’s payment processing solutions have been delivering tailored solutions, best-in-class customer service, and high-quality service offerings for businesses across multiple industries. Whether it’s high-risk or low-risk, brick-and-mortar or e-commerce, NMA will create the best processing experience for your company. For more information, visit us at legacy.nationalmerchants.com or call (866) 509-7199.