Most businesses think about customer transactions in terms of overall value. They want to offer the best possible product for the lowest possible price, justifying the transaction, and hopefully, encouraging more purchases. 

This approach makes sense, since it capitalizes on rational economic behavior. Any effort you make to decrease prices or increase product quality is probably going to result in more enthusiastic customer activity. However, this approach neglects a key problem with retailers today: the experience of completing a transaction. 

The Case for Simplicity

If you want to reign supreme over your retail competitors, you need to gain mastery over your customer transactions, and a major element of that is making those customer transactions simpler. 

Why is simplicity so important? 

  • Faster customer decisions. Think about how you make decisions in your own life. The more variables there are to consider, and the more steps there are to finalize the decision, the longer it’s going to take you to make that decision—if you make it at all. Making transactions simpler for your customers is going to lead to faster decision making, which is going to increase impulse purchases (and/or online conversions). 
  • Speed and convenience. Simpler transactions are almost always faster and easier. If a customer is torn between two stores, but knows that one has a much faster checkout process, they’re inclined to choose the easier of the two options. 
  • Intuition and comfort. Making your process simple to understand means your customers have to spend less time navigating the purchasing process. Complex transactions cause stress and anxiety, while simple ones are intuitive and comfortable. 
  • Differentiation. Supporting simpler transactions may also help you differentiate your brand from those of your competitors; in an age with countless major online brands threatening your market share, differentiation is more important than ever. 

How to Make Transactions Simpler 

So what can retailers do to make customer transactions simpler? 

  • Make the offer simpler. First, make the offer as simple as possible; allow customers to complete the transaction in as few steps as possible, and don’t add extra conditions or requirements unless you need to. For example, Junk Car Traders illustrates the trade-in process straightforward, with only three things necessary to complete the transaction. There aren’t superfluous extra steps, nor are there an overwhelming number of options to consider. 
  • Design intuitive processes. Next, try to design your transaction (whether it’s etiquette at the checkout line, or managing an online shopping cart) in a way that caters to people’s intuition. Norman Doors are a perfect illustration of why bad design can make things more complicated; if you add a pushable horizontal bar to a door that can only be pulled, countless people will try to push the door without realizing it (even if you write the verbal instruction: “pull”). 
  • Invest in your POS system. There’s no single “best” POS software system, but there are frontrunners in each of several categories. Investing in a system that customers understand and engage with immediately—without having to read the instructions or rely on a cashier’s guidance—is imperative if you want to support simpler transactions. Experiment with different software platforms before you settle on the final product. 
  • Accept mobile payments. The number of consumers using mobile payments regularly is on the rise, and it’s only going to grow from here. Accepting mobile payments will make the purchasing process simpler for anyone with a mobile wallet; a quick scan is all it takes to finalize the transaction, and those customers can go about their day. However, you’ll also need to keep in mind that not all customers have made this leap; accordingly, you’ll still want to accept a wide variety of payment types. 

Are you ready to make your customer transactions simpler, faster, and more intuitive? It won’t cost you much in the way of time or money, but it could help you process far more transactions per day—and keep your customers happier, so they keep coming back. In an age with increased competition and virtually limitless possibilities, you owe it to your brand to stand out in some important way, and transaction simplicity could be the way to do it.