How to Decrease Cashier Errors—And Boost Profits by More Than 35%

February 26, 2013

If you’re a retailer and could take a few simple steps to increase your profits by more than 35 percent, would you? Of course you would! Especially if those simple steps involved training your cashiers better, so they make fewer mistakes. Before going into how to decrease cashier errors, let’s consider the upside I just mentioned because it seems too incredible, even ludicrous, right? Well, let’s have a look.

Take, for example, a grocery store with annual sales of $50 million. With an overall shrinkage level of two percent—and with the industry average of 18 percent of that two percent due to employee errors, mostly at the cash register, cashier mistakes can account for as much as $180,000 each year. If the store has a one percent net profit, that’s 36 percent of $500,000 profits. Wow.


OK, so now that you’re onboard, let’s discuss how to decrease those mistakes to build your bottom line. Here are several pointers:


1.  Register training.  This seems obvious but anecdotal evidence shows that retailers, especially small chains and “mom ‘n pop” stores, simply don’t train their cashiers enough. Same goes for employees handling cash and using cash registers (like restaurant servers). That’s a big mistake in four ways:


  • • Confused employees are bound to make mistakes.

  • • If confused, they’ll typically give the customer the benefit of their error. (This becomes a hidden cost and, if the POS is connected to the inventory system, inventory gets skewed and has to be straightened out eventually.)

  • • Confused employees are less productive and, because no one likes to feel—much less appear—“dumb,” the lack of training undermines their morale.

  • • Confused but less self-conscious employees may interrupt other employees to teach them what they’re doing wrong, undermining the productivity of those other employees. (“Susie, how do you void this?”)

2. Product training.  Product and register training go hand-in-hand. Why? Because cashiers need to know the price difference between a Gala apple and a Fuji apple, between what’s on sale and what’s not, and between a BOGO (Buy One, Get One) and half-off.


Also, if cashiers have to look up product codes and, worse, call for a “price-check, please,” customers are kept waiting, checkout lines get longer, and customer patience—and satisfaction—vanishes.


Even at fine dining restaurants, I don’t know how many times I’ve enjoyed a great meal and terrific service, only to have my server take forever to bring my check and have an otherwise superb experience quickly diminished.


3. Go slow.  Speaking of patience, many cashiers are taught (or assume) that fast is good. Problem is, fast produces mis-rings needing voids if caught, mis-counting change, and, in short, mistakes. In your register training, reassure new cashiers that it’s not being the fastest but being the most accurate cashier that will win your favor.


Besides these training tips, another way to help your cashiers be more productive and avoid errors is with Garda's CashLINK. As the CashLINK product manager I’ve seen firsthand how smart safe technology streamlines our clients’ cash management process, both from an efficiency and security aspect.


CashLINK is a closed-loop system that controls cash from point-of-sale to bank deposit. With smart safes installed in stores and restaurants, cashiers can quickly deposit bills in the system. The smart safe technology reads the denomination deposited, tracks deposits by user and reconciles the location's books at the end of the day. Garda collects the data daily and transmits it to customers' headquarters for sales auditing and banking reconciliation. Garda's trained messengers then pick up the cash and take it to the bank for deposit. To learn more, visit our website.