Retail sector in India is booming and so are the queues in stores. Be it any segment, any city the volumes these stores are managing are increasing day by day. In such a dynamic environment, delightful customer experience is the driving force in this era of cut-throat competition amongst retailers. In a world where products & brands are often homogeneous, retailers try to differentiate themselves with minutest of customer touchpoints within the retail environment.
The consumer experiencer starts when he/she enters the store and ends with the billing experience. When customers shops from a store, billing experience & time becomes an important touchpoint. If a customer has to wait for a longer duration, it ends up making him impatient and he often leaves the store without purchasing anything. If the billing experience offered is quick & smooth the shopper exits the store with a positive image of the brand.
The Key billing counter essentials are as follows:
- Billing process must be easy & quick
- Availability of multiple billing counters to handle high footfall & peak sales
- Use technology like bar code scanners for quick billing
- Inform the customer with the available schemes, membership cards, loyalty points & ways to redeem them
- Total number of items, discount and final bill amount confirmation must be given before bill finalization
- Handing over the hard copy of bill
- Must have ample change at each counter
- Return policy must be clearly defined
Several retail brands have started focussing on billing experience and have adopted innovative operating procedures. In Grocery retail, people buy in bulk and billing typically takes a long time. Some hypermarkets set up two separate queues – one for Cash payment and one for plastic money/digital payment. Some grocery chains even have separate queues basis the count of items purchased.
In Fashion segment, retail brands set up separate billing for Men & Women or have designated areas as well as billing for different categories like casuals, formals, accessories etc.
In food service segment, quick service restaurants have started adopting digital screen ordering by placing tablets at the tables in order to save customer’s time and provide a hassle-free experience. Some fine-dine restaurants, as a part of their standard operating procedures, also abide by ‘Under 3 minute’ timeline for presenting the bill to the customer once asked.
Professional training at billing counters can lead to smooth functioning of the store. They should be properly informed & trained about the operating procedures so that an easier checkout can be provided to the customer.