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Expect Less Queues This Christmas As Shops Adopt Mobile Checkouts

Adrian Floate
13 November - 3 min read

Long queues at the Christmas and Boxing Day sales could be a thing of the past as businesses adopt mobile checkouts to help keep customers safe from the spread of COVID-19.

Traditionally, the Christmas rush has been synonymous with long lines of customers waiting to bag a bargain, but businesses are turning to virtual terminals to expand and disperse checkout  locations to adhere to social distancing rules.

App-based point of sale (POS) systems on iPads or tablets help businesses adhere to COVID-19 safety measures with barcode scanners and tap-and-go technology, which encourages contactless payments.

Mobile checkouts will soon replace traditional cash registers due to their many advantages.

We’ve seen a huge spike in interest in pop-up checkouts – not only for their line-busting abilities, but the flexibility they offer.

Good mobile POS systems are cheaper than traditional cash registers, they integrate with payment and accounting systems and provide inventory information in real-time.

I expect this new technology will increase employment, as stores hire extra staff to operate the mobile checkouts.

Other advantages of mobile POS systems include:  

Increased sales – many customers are not prepared to wait in line to purchase a product. Having multiple and shorter queues will encourage customers to buy.

Enhanced customer experience – Staff are more inclined to engage with customers on the sales floor.

Portability – the checkout process can be made anywhere, whether it’s servicing customers on the sales floor or out-and-about at events.

Increased space – by decreasing the amount of space taken up by cash registers, there is more room on the sales floor to display products.

 Toys 4 All opened in Sydney in September and only uses iPads with POS apps.

Director Nick Haritsos said he chose the iPads because they could be used at the sales counter and around the store.

“As a new business, we needed something cost-effective and easy to use,” Mr Haritsos said.

“At our opening, we had an influx of customers and the queue started to get pretty long.

“It wasn’t an issue because we grabbed a couple of extra iPads and opened mobile checkouts to bust the queues and move customers through quickly.

“It was great for customers with one or two items, who wanted to skip the queue.

“We will definitely be using them over Christmas.”

According to the Safe Work Australia website, business owners are responsible for managing the risk of a person in their workplace spreading and contacting COVID-19, including the risk that persons with COVID-19 enter the workplace.

“Physical distancing is one of the key ways to lower the risk of COVID-19 being spread or contracted at your workplace,” the website said.

Shop owners are advised to keep workers and customers 1.5m apart and to consider options to manage crowd flow and reduce bottlenecks and congestion.

Retail stores should have signs that clearly display how many people can be inside the store and provide appropriate space for queuing outside the store with 1.5m floor markings.

Each state and territory has physical distancing measures that reflect local circumstances. Visit the relevant state or territory government website or public health directions and COVIDSafe plans page for links to government health directions. 

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