28 | www.retailenvironments.org RETAIL ENVIRONMENTS july.august.2015
together items that will need to be packaged or bagged. A large counter area for
packaging may benefit apparel, which may
need to be carefully wrapped and bagged,
or sports or outdoor equipment items,
which can be large.
Those selling products that custom-
ers don’t pick up or take home with them
(cars, services, furniture), may have dif-
ferent requirements. A service counter at
Dufresne Furniture in Ontario, designed by
Interbrand Design Forum based in Dayton,
Ohio, not only serves as a location for
checkout, but also assists customers with
logistics and shipping details.
And as bleeding-edge retailers have
learned over the past few years, checkout
anywhere in the store can be uncomfortable
for some, particularly in a crowded store.
Without a designated place for transac-
tions to happen, the transaction may actu-
ally get in the way of others who are trying
to shop. “Originally, the focus was on the
mobile/tablet technology, rather than on
the physical necessities of the transaction,”
Shapleigh explains. He notes that it wasn’t
unusual to see customers juggling multi-
ple items while they tried to retrieve credit
cards, sign the mobile devices, etc.
More recently, designers are considering
such issues. When Nordstrom, for example,
introduced completely mobile-enabled selling tools into its department store at The
Woodlands in Texas, designed in partnership with Callison, the focus was on providing a better experience for customers. Sales
staff can transact with customers from anywhere in the store, and meet comfortably
with them in lounge areas, service bars, and
“We’re now seeing a more comfortable,
more efficient, and more personal shopping
experience,” Shapleigh says.
For some retailers, the elimination of a
single checkout area can provide other benefits. When Nordstrom Rack removed registers from the front of the store, it replaced
them with handheld devices for associates
and physical distributed mobile checkout
carts. The change provided more space for
product merchandising and display, says
Rachel Zsembery, principal at Boston-based
Bergmeyer. The distributed stations have an
added benefit of making frequent shoppers
feel that they have an “in” at the store.
“Customers who are in-the-know can
engage with a sales clerk anywhere in the
store and pick up their receipt at these stations,” Zsembery says.
Hurry up and reduce the wait
“The biggest pain point is typically a process where you have to wait. The challenge
is how you work the transaction process—
the part that the customer doesn’t enjoy—
to ease the amount of time that a customer
is focused on paying for something,” says
Brandon Avery, creative managing director
for FRCH Design Worldwide in Cincinnati.
Where the purchase transaction fits into
the path to purchase is also up for grabs.
Purchase from the fitting room is one of
many options. Hointer, a Seattle-based
jeans retailer, uses mobile technology,
e-tags, and in-store sensors. Shoppers scan
Top: Bergmeyer Associates designed mobile cash desks for the San Francisco 49ers Team Store in
the Santa Clara, Calif., stadium. On game days, these extra fixtures are wheeled out to supplement
permanent cash desks to speed fans through checkout. Bottom: Some checkout areas are becoming
multifunctional. At Gensler-designed Back 40 Mercantile in Old Greenwich, Conn., the cashwrap
serves as gift-wrapping station, consultation area, and display fixture.