In today’s busy world, everyone is looking for ways to make things faster and easier.  That’s why large retail chains like Target and Best Buy do so well; they cater to people’s need for one-stop shopping.

As a small business owner, you can serve this need as well by implementing some shortcuts and conveniences that will make a customer’s shopping experience both easy and quick.  The better the experience is for the customer, the more likely that person will be to patronize your business repeatedly in the future.

Here are some suggestions to speed up the actual process of completing a sale.

  • Keep payment methods on file.  This works especially well if your customer uses the same card to pay every time. With your customer’s permission and as long as you are in compliance with government requirements, you can keep a credit or debit card on file.  This way, the customer doesn’t have to bother with presenting the card, signing receipts, or entering the card number online over and over again. With a payment method on file, you’re eliminating an often time-consuming step of the sales process.
  • Set up your website for online orders.  This involves a few details, such as obtaining an SSL Certificate for encrypting transactions as well as setting up a payment system such as Google Checkout or Paypal.  If your website includes a product listing, it makes sense to allow your customers to not only browse, but order too.
  • Allow automatic refills of consumable products.  If you have express payments implemented, this type of shortcut is a logical progression.  For example, the cosmetics company Bare Escentuals offers a club membership where customers can have their personalized color combinations of makeup delivered to their door at their chosen frequency.  This eliminates the need for customers to have to keep reordering the same thing, it ensures that the customer never runs out of what is needed, and it also keeps the reorders and payments steady for the company.  This mutually beneficial setup makes shopping much more convenient.
  • Go mobile.  Use the explosion of smartphones to your advantage.  Consider implementing QR codes that users can scan from their phones.  The code can take them directly to an order form, a product review, and/or a list of related products/services.  QR codes are not difficult to implement, especially if you use some of the simpler services such as Delivr or QR Stuff.  You may also want to consider accepting mobile payments. This can be done by individual salespeople using a mobile phone reader like ProPay’s JAK or Square, or you can have a mobile app developed that customers can download and shop through. You should also make sure that your website is mobile-friendly (not just visible in a mobile browser). Consider developing a mobile version of your site that is sized appropriately for a mobile browser that allows customers to shop easily from their phones without a lot of scrolling.

As with any aspect of your business, make sure that whatever shortcuts you put in place for your customers act as a help to your business rather than a hindrance, which can occur if you dive in without deciding how it will truly impact the sales process.  Tailor each shortcut to meet your customers’ needs, and make sure that all links and scannables are working properly.

How do you implement shortcuts to make the sales process faster and easier for your clients?  Please share with us in the comments section below!