Five Keys to Mastering PoS Ergonomics in Retail Environments

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People only tend to notice something’s design when it causes problems, and the same is true when it comes to Point of Sale (PoS) workstations, desks and kiosks in retail stores. A poorly designed solution at a PoS workstation can have a significant negative impact on productivity and efficiency and may result in staff fatigue and an increased error rate, along with employee dissatisfaction; it can also be highly frustrating for customers.

At SpacePole, Inc., our ergonomics team are experts in facilitating comfortable, safe and efficient workstations in retail stores. Here are some of the components that we think are key to finding the best PoS ergonomic solutions in a retail setting.

1. Identifying potential ergonomics issues in your specific setting

In order to find the best solution for your specific environment, it’s essential to conduct a thorough assessment of the requirements of your retail point of sale workstations to pinpoint potential problems. Considerations can include, but are not limited to:

  • The dimensions/footprint of the workspace
  • The height of the workbench, counter or desk,
  • Whether the operator will be standing or sitting
  • The nature of any repetitive movements that will be required as part of the role
  • The size, weight and positioning of the PoS equipment that they will be using

By essentially putting yourself in the position of your PoS employees in each setting you will have in your store, you can often highlight potential issues early in the planning stages, meaning changes can more easily, and cost effectively, be made to the setup to reduce the risks of employee fatigue, injury and other issues.

2. Optimizing the PoS footprint

Every retailer knows the value of space in a bricks and mortar store. By making PoS workstation footprints smaller, you have more room for product displays. The key is in maximizing the available space so that even smaller workstations don’t look cluttered and have enough room for the staff to be comfortable and carry out their role effectively, which is also more appealing to customers visually than a cramped and busy looking PoS area.

One way to maximize this space is by using a compact all-in-one PoS system which can do the job of several other pieces of kit, such as a separate monitor, till, payment reader and receipt printer. Using one smaller system that can do most or all of these tasks, can make a big difference to the amount of counter space required. By also having a well-managed system for cabling and minimizing the number of peripherals needed, the PoS area can remain uncluttered and a smaller footprint may be possible.

3. Maximizing the flexibility of the PoS station for multiple users

Most retail environments will require a single PoS workstation to be manned by a number of different employees at various times, so having a setup that can easily be adjusted for people with a different height and arm reach is essential when trying to find the best ergonomic solution. Having PoS equipment which can be easily and quickly adjusted to different heights, moved to a different position, or tilted and turned when a different member of staff takes over, are vital considerations in ensuring that workstations are comfortable for everyone to use.

4. Mobile Point of Sale (MPoS) implementation

Becoming increasingly popular across bricks and mortar retail is the roll out of MPoS solutions. Staff with tablet computers are not tied to a fixed location and can take some of the pressure off conventional PoS counters by meeting the customer’s need for information, facilitating returns, and even making secure transactions, anywhere in the store; in a way that seamlessly ties up the online and offline customer experience with your brand. Some of the classic ergonomic issues are simply removed from the equation when the PoS location is mobile, such as staff spending long periods in the same seated or stood position and repeated movements which can cause strain.

In addition to some of the ergonomic benefits, MPoS can also bring a new dimension to the sales experience for customers and staff. Not only can the sales associates engage with customers away from the counter, there may be additional opportunities for them to also cross-sell or upsell products to better meet the customer’s needs. It can also provide a valuable extra touchpoint for customers who are as-yet undecided on product or the retailer they wish to purchase from and can help them make their buying decision sooner.

5. Considering customer ergonomics

Nothing has an impact on in-store purchase abandonment quite like the sight of long lines at the checkout. While at certain points on the calendar this is somewhat unavoidable, there are PoS solutions which can help to ease the strain on tills. With an ergonomic all-in-one PoS system, a standard till can be instantly changed to a customer service station or a returns counter, helping to filter out those in the queue who are not wanting to make a direct purchase and reducing waiting time for those that are. This can be especially useful at very busy times for these functions, such as post-Christmas or sales events.

MPoS can again be implemented to meet customers before they queue, or even as they queue, again filtering out customers who require something other than a standard purchase, to make waiting times shorter and less frustrating for all.

For more information on PoS ergonomics assessments or MPoS systems and implementation, contact SpacePole, Inc. today.

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