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A Check-Up at Check-Out: 3 Tips to Ensure Excellent Customer Experience at the Point of Sale

Aternity October 25, 2016

For retail, the checkout experience can ultimately decide whether or not the customer leaves satisfied and remembers your brand in a positive way. Some of the world’s largest retailers rely on Riverbed SteelCentral Aternity to ensure an excellent customer experience in the check-out line. Here’s how a retailer used Aternity End User Experience Monitoring at the Point of Sale (POS) to dramatically improve their operations.

The complexity in the check-out line

Point of Sale software applications used by large-scale retailers are dauntingly complex. In an instant, the software must execute several critical functions:

  • Look up a UPC from inventory of millions of items
  • Present pricing, labeling, discounts, and tax information specific to the store and consumer
  • Update the distribution supply chain to record the depletion of inventory
  • Interact with multiple pieces of unique hardware such as cash and coin dispensers, receipt printers, and product code scanners

The business-critical processes continue through the transaction. The same system must:

  • Tally the sale
  • Clear payment information with a third-party provider (usually a credit card clearinghouse)
  • Print a receipt, coupons, a survey, etc.
  • In the case of cash, return the proper change from an external dispenser

In total, there are well over 100 different interactions that can be slow, go wrong, or simply fail.

Instrumenting the check-out experience is easier said than done

Instrumenting the check-out process is challenging for any retailer. With so many systems and processes operating in concert, few software packages provide the level of oversight necessary to not only report on issues but quantify the experiences of the cashier and consumer.

Since SteelCentral Aternity uniquely monitors user experience and correlates it to both application performance and the critical health and performance metrics of the underlying device, it has the flexibility to present this experience data in dashboards and reports. This enables you to not only resolve customer and cashier complaints of poor service, but also to proactively identify potential problems so they can be prevented, and equip you with the ability to present invaluable operational metrics to the line of business.



SteelCentral Aternity monitors the key POS operating system and device health metrics
that impact application performance and workforce productivity

Three tips to ensure customer experience at the point of sale

With capabilities like these, SteelCentral Aternity provides three key capabilities for retailers to ensure excellent customer experience at the Point of Sale.

1. Stop shopping stoppages

Improving the check-out experience begins with preventing stoppages—issues in inventory or software that halt the process and require cashier or manager intervention. To address this high-priority concern, the retailer used SteelCentral Aternity to identify and alert IT staff to the most commonly expected POS application and device issues, such as:

  • Item not found in inventory
  • Price mismatch
  • Call for supervisor
  • Cash dispenser failed

2. Immediately identify inventory issues

For this customer’s relevant events, SteelCentral Aternity captured additional metadata such as the UPC scanned, which led to a tenfold increase in the ability to identify conflicting inventory data, both for missing items and for price mismatches. A process that historically required auditing of logs or reconciling inventory long after the fact was now executed in near-real-time. Likewise, calls for supervisor assistance were analyzed by call reason, allowing broad trending and recognition of areas that required better staff training.

3. Analyze the check-out timeline to eliminate delays

Additionally, the retailer used SteelCentral Aternity to analyze the timeline of checking-out, with macro-scale visibility and the ability to drill down to each and every transaction. With this information, our customer was able to assess delays in cashier handling, payment processing, and equipment responses.

Get ready for your own Black Friday

With Aternity, the retailer obtained previously unavailable insights into the checkout process by combining hardware performance, behavior analysis, and operational data quality auditing.

To learn more about how Aternity can help you improve your business, stop by the SteelCentral breakout session or demo at the upcoming Riverbed Disrupt Virtual event.



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