In Touchpoint #6 of the Customer Journey series, we welcomed you to the heart of the shopping experience—The Showroom. This is the confluence of your store’s design and the height of retail excitement. In order to maintain this positive energy and shopping high, it is critical to pay special attention to every detail of Touchpoint #7 – Point of Sale and Touchpoint #8 – Order Fulfillment. These final moments of the retail experience can make or break your brand reputation and solidify a long-lasting, positive impression.
The pinnacle of retail is the place where the money changes hands—Point of Sale. I mean, this is what retail is all about, right? From a well-positioned brand moment to the touch of your countertops to the sense of privacy (or lack thereof) your customers are bombarded with conscious and subconscious messages during every second of this phase of their journey. And the efficiency of Order Fulfillment, whether visible to the customer or happening in back-of-house spaces, goes hand in hand with the point of sale experience.
Here is what you need to think about at these crucial touchpoints:
- At the register, is there adequate space to set things down and access money without the customer feeling anxious and crowded?
- How can you minimize waiting times or enhance these moments in line?
- When the merchandise is handed over after the transaction occurs, how is it presented?
- Do you convey a tone of appreciation?
- Does the final packaging and interpersonal exchange leave a lasting impression?
There are five key qualities of a successful point of sale experience. Pay close attention.
Time is of the essence at this moment in the journey. Lack of efficiency at the POS and in order fulfillment can create one of the biggest bottlenecks in the entire journey. Order fulfillment is different from state to state depending on packaging requirements, so take great care in developing an efficient process for your staff based on your unique requirements. Filling orders can be time consuming, so shaving minutes or even seconds here supports profitability. Think about adjacencies to inventory storage areas as well as organized storage for all the items in the packaging process, including marketing materials, promo items, and freebies. Whatever you do, make sure this moment maintains the look and feel of your brand and upholds your safety standards. Don’t let order fulfillment be the downfall of your security.
This is time for a final branded moment. Think about the touch and feel of the counter, provide plenty of personal space and punctuate the area with your brand. Use art, signage, and even video screens to engage customers while their order is being fulfilled. This is an opportunity to communicate events, sales, promotions, and loyalty programs in order to plant a seed for why the customer should return. And a memorable POS experience always includes awesome customer service. Don’t be pushy or salesy, be informative and engaging. Offer smiles and pleasant conversation. Everything in this moment should communicate ‘thank you’ and ‘come back to see us soon.’
Like all smart retail spaces, enhance profitability through impulse purchases at the POS. Anything that is $20 or less is a no-brainer add-on for customers in the shopping groove. Think mints, lighters, rolling papers, or single-serving edibles. Can you make a BOGO offer? Maybe you even toss in something for free. Remember that loyalty is profitability. Take care to make this checkout process efficient and organized too. Efficiency equates to more sales, more customers, and repeat business. If you create a seamless sales process for staff and customers, you are minimizing staff errors at the cash register and elevating the customer experience. Efficiency and organization go hand in hand with profitability.
Design for comfort at the POS. First, provide personal space so customers have a little room to move and breathe. Is there an area to set down purses and phones, so customers can easily access wallets? Do you offer chairs or stools to customers who aren’t comfortable standing? This area should offer enough space to support discretion for handling cash as well as privacy for final questions and personal conversations. Everyone wants a little elbow room, and they want a little personal attention as they make that final transaction. Providing extra physical space and pleasant customer service delivers a sense of comfort.
Due to the current state of the industry, the final purchase is typically a cash transaction. Think about the safety and security of both customers and staff. Do your customers have plenty of space to access their wallet? Make sure they can comfortably handle cash without feeling like the person standing behind them is eyeing their wad of bills. From an operational perspective, think about locating the cash drawer out of customer reach as well as the placement of a convenient cash safe for a secure and discreet cash drop during busy shifts. An additional measure for keeping employees safe in this journey is using bulletproof glass, and some state regulations may require it. In such cases, think about high design ways to use this material so it reinforces a welcoming environment rather than becoming off-putting.
If your customers are ready to leave with bags in hand, then you are so very close to retail success. You just need to help direct them out the door and happily on their way home. Before we show you how to properly exit customers from the dispensary journey, we want to make note of other areas in your retail space that can impact your brand reputation and create memorable impressions. Next up, Touchpoint #9 – Forgotten Spaces.
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A disruptor, innovator, and entrepreneur, Megan Stone is the grand dame of dispensary design. As founder and owner of The High Road Design Studio, she has helped arm cannabis retailers with the power of design to combat stigma, overcome stereotypes, and reinvent people’s perceptions of cannabis and its users. Her unprecedented work has helped usher dispensaries onto Main Street and into the mainstream and has forever changed the international conversation about the retailing of “vice.” Her work has been lauded for altering thoughts, feelings and behaviors worldwide, blazing a trail and earning awards and commendations for design excellence along the way. She is a frequent speaker and contributing editor in both the cannabis and retail design industries.