Are you collecting “How” and “Why” at the register?

When I speak to retailers one thing that strikes me over and over is the limited perspective on the value of their POS system. The answers I get tend to focus on the who, what and when. What was purchased. When. At what price. At what profit or margin.

This is, of course, the core of the POS data collection and is critical. But there is so much more. None of this data will ever tell you, at the transaction level, about the customer-employee interaction that occurred before the register. What is missing is the “how “and “why” of the story of each transaction.

Lets look at a simple example: Was this customer (at each transaction) helped by staff before they got to the register and made a purchase? If we knew more about the customer-staff member interaction before it came to the cash, we might be able to answer some of the below questions:

  • How often are we talking to each customer?
  • Is there a basket size increase for those customers we talk to?
  • Is there a dollars spent increase for those customers we talk to?
  • If we added more staff during high volume hours would we see higher sales or profits (staff able to talk to a higher proportion of customers)?
  • Are there fewer returns when a customer is assisted by an staff on their initial purchase?
  • Is a customer more likely to re-purchase a product when assisted by a staff?
  • Was the customer-service training we conducted for staff last month effective?
  • Is there a relationship between a customer-staff conversation before the register and the total time spent at the register (transaction time)?


We have a pretty safe assumption to start off with – that it is good to talk to each customer and that there are generally positive results from this. But what precisely is the impact in our specific store(s)? How much? Which times? How often is it happening? Does it have a negative effect elsewhere?

Once the data is in your system, you can manipulate it to look at trends, compare it to other Key Performance Indicators, and incorporate the data collection into various business strategies. Once you have the data, the opportunities are nearly limitless. But until you plug that data into your system, all you have are more assumptions.

Now pause for a moment and consider the possibilities of your transaction data including contextual information about whether an item was an ‘upsell’ from the value brand, a pairing suggestion based on something else in the customer basket, or even a better product recommendation based on the customers stated need or problem (health retailers are only too familiar with this scenario).

Sometimes we need to take a step back to consider the power of a POS System. Remember that the value of your POS System is much more than what it currently does for you today. It’s what it can do for you if you ask the right questions.


Jaeger Consulting Group provides Point of Sale System optimization support to connect business goals to software solutions.

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