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Whether you run a retail store, restaurant or service business, one thing your customers all have in common is that they want to save time. And, since time is money, you want to save time too, right?

Here are 10 ideas for ways you can save your customers (and yourself) time at the point of sale.

Save yourself time by:

1. Choosing an integrated point of sale (POS) system. A POS system that integrates with other software you use, such as CRM (customer relationship management), loyalty and inventory management software, saves you tons of time. These systems streamline information gathering and reporting. Instead of inputting data, you can capture it automatically at the POS, then export it into dashboards and reports to spot trends, create marketing campaigns and ensure you don’t run out of a key ingredient or item that you’re promoting.

2. Looking for a POS system that accepts all types of payments—debit cards, credit cards, checks, cash and even digital or mobile payments. That way, your employees don't have to switch back and forth from a cash register to a credit card reader when customers are paying.

3. Putting POS in the cloud.  Cloud-based POS systems enable you to access POS data anytime, anywhere, so you can get your work done faster. No need to stay late crunching numbers in the shop or office—access your information from home whenever you have a spare moment.

4. Simplifying tax preparation. Good POS software sorts and calculates total sales, sales tax, tips and other payments. That means you can easily pull that information from the POS system at tax time and know your income is being reported accurately.
 

Save customers time by…

5. Going mobile. Accepting mobile payments via digital wallet or even swiping payment cards in a mobile device using an app such as Square, PayPal Here or Intuit’s QuickBooks GoPayment gets customers in and out faster.

6. Training employees on the system. Whatever type of POS system you use, good training and regular updates are key to making sure employees can make the most of the technology. Without adequate training, customers will suffer as employees struggle to figure out how to accept a payment or input a discount. In addition to the technology, make sure employees are kept up-to-date on current promotions, discounts and codes so there’s no delay in confirming a sale price.

7. Staffing appropriately. Use your POS system to monitor and track busy times, days and seasons. This helps you plan when to staff up or down. Have a backup plan in place in case too many employees call in sick. Do whatever you can to ensure you’re not short-staffed.

8. Doing triage. Depending on the situation, creating one line for cash customers, one line for customers paying by check and one line for payment card customers can help speed the process. You can also institute 10-items-or-less lines, or a separate line for returns, to speed purchasing.

9. Being aware. Train employees to be alert and aware of customers and their moods. A well-placed comment like “Thank you for your patience!” can do a lot to defuse a grumpy customer who’s been waiting in a long line. Empathy and friendliness always help time go faster.

10. Making it fun. Waiting in line can be fun—just ask customers at Sephora, Barnes & Noble or any other store that puts intriguing impulse buys near the checkout registers. While this doesn’t technically save time, providing products for customers to look at (and hopefully purchase) offers distraction that will help the wait speed by. If your business doesn’t sell products, putting TV screens playing sports, movies or talk shows near the POS can have the same effect (just be mindful of your customer base and keep it family-friendly).