Abandoned Profits at the check out line

If someone came to your door with a check for $1 million dollars would you ask them to wait?

Offline merchants are doing just that at their check out counters nationwide.  I live in New York City, a densely populated high rent city, and I am absolutely amazed at lack of resources merchants allocate at the check out.

When you consider the cost of customer acquisition, skimping on check out people seems insane.

I abandoned 2 shopping carts at Old Navy and TJ Maxx Friday night as the lines were way too long and slow. How many other people walked away that night also?  How many walked away the other 6 nights of last week?  How much profit was lost?

Whats worse, the solution is simple: Install hand held wireless devices (like those we see at rental car returns), cross train additional employees to check out customers.  Now, when the lines get long at the check out, re-assign the other cross trained employees to use the devices for credit card customers.

Of course the obvious alternative is to hire more cashiers.  However most or all employees should be trained as a cashier as, at one of the stores where I abandoned my cart, the manager said that 6 cashiers had called in sick that day.

For the fastest check out line I have ever seen go to Whole Foods in Union Square. At most times of the day they have anywhere from 50 to 250 in line to check out.  I have seen 250 person lines take less than 10 to 15 minutes.  Thats because they not only hire enough cashiers but they also have an employee manage the line…I don’t care what they charge I love to shop there!