‘Too Few Open Checkouts’ Source of Major Frustration for Canadian Shoppers

Reduced labour costs could be saving Canadian retailers money, but it’s also potentially costing them sales.

According to new research reported on by Canadian Grocer 28% of respondents to a recent survey said that too few open checkouts is the most annoying issue they face when shopping.

In fact, the issue was so frustrating that it was only one point behind “out-of-stock products” with 29% of the vote.

There can be many reasons for having too few checkouts open, but the main one usually comes down to labour costs. Particularly in provinces like Ontario and Alberta where minimum wage has gone up, retailers may not be able to employ as many staff members as they previously could.

Some potential solutions include:

1. Self-checkout

See our recent blog post about the self-checkout trend and where it’s heading: http://storesupport.ca/self-checkout-retail-trends/.

2. Promoting online shopping

With more channels available to shop from, there may not be as many cashiers noticed. Of course, online grocery shopping and delivery services can present different challenges. And as many Canadians still prefer to shop in-store this may be a longer-term solution.

3. Monitoring consumer trends in-store

Perhaps the most important step to take is to start by assessing the retailer’s foot traffic. If the majority of shoppers are coming in-store between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., for example, you may need extra cashiers on hand during those hours. Or if your store is busiest on Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings, those might be the times you add extra staff to the shift.

Retail sales can also fluctuate by season. If you are in a tourist location and your store is busier during the summer, for instance, you may want to increase staffing levels during those seasons.

The important thing about tracking retail foot traffic is to do it consistently – it’s not a one-and-done task. Monitor what is happening over a longer period of time and adjust accordingly.

Not sure how to best monitor foot traffic? Storesupport Canada can help.

4. Consider training staff for multiple roles

One way to deal with a rush is to have staff on the floor who can jump on cash when needed. You may have people assigned to inventory, for instance, you can also handle cash. This way when it gets busy, you have back-up in place, but when it’s slow, you don’t have staff standing around doing nothing.

This can take more training time upfront, but the effort can be worth it in the long run.

5. Bring in outside help

During extra-busy periods, like a tourist-town store in the summertime, consider bringing in outside staff that you don’t need to train.

For instance, at Storesupport Canada we have teams who can come in to provide supplementary assistance. The full-time retail staff can focus on the consumer while third-party staff can focus on the products.

While having too few checkouts open is an issue, it’s not unsolvable.

Contact Storesupport Canada today to start finding the fix. Call 1-877-421-5081 or visit www.storesupport.ca.

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