RETAILERS BID TO ENHANCE CHECKOUT EXPERIENCE

The checkout lane already has one of the heaviest concentrations of technology in the store environment, but some retailers seeking to enhance the customer's experience there are interested in adding even more.Some technologies, like video monitors showcasing store specials, are literally aimed at the customer, while attempts to speed and simplify the scanning and payment processes are more transparent.

The checkout lane already has one of the heaviest concentrations of technology in the store environment, but some retailers seeking to enhance the customer's experience there are interested in adding even more.

Some technologies, like video monitors showcasing store specials, are literally aimed at the customer, while attempts to speed and simplify the scanning and payment processes are more transparent. Nor are retailers forgetting the power of friendly, well-trained employees to make the checkout experience more pleasant.

Here's what some retailers are doing to improve the customer's checkout experience:

Barb Ramsour

director,

information systems

Balls Food Stores

Kansas City, Kan.

In order to make the customer's experience at checkout more pleasurable we are implementing new personal computer-based units equipped with what we call a CID, or a consumer information display, at each lane. There are lots of opportunities for us to use that monitor.

We can showcase products on sale in our stores' departments for holidays, such as flowers for Valentine's Day, or different pies to let your mother know you are thinking of her on Mother's Day. The CID will also enhance the loyalty-card program that we just launched in both our Hen House and Price Chopper stores in January. The monitor will give us the opportunity to target different deals to certain customers.

We made the commitment to make the checkout process nicer as far as our company moving toward a more sophisticated PC-based system. This will make everyone's checkout experience more pleasurable.

Bob Drury

VP, management

information systems

Schnuck Markets

St. Louis

When we implemented a new front-end system, we kept two things in mind. The first thing is just using pure speed to move orders through as fast as possible. It is no secret that it is not fun to stand in line when you want to get out of the store quickly. Customer service is priority one for us.

The second aspect is a continuation of the first. We are doing more integration with debit, credit and electronic benefits transfer. It all comes down to servicing the customer as fast as we can.

Jack Brown

president, CEO

Stater Bros. Markets

Colton, Calif.

Here at Stater Bros. we maintain a training center to educate all checkers. Associates cannot be checkers here unless they complete training school. The same team that trains our checkers also goes through the basics of customer service with all store associates on a regular basis. This training reminds people about front-end service and the importance of the customer.