Cashier Training 101: Tips and Strategies for Retailers

Cashier training

Cashier training educates cashiers at retail establishments on how to successfully perform their role. As a store’s face, eyes, and ears, the cashier is one of the most important positions in a retail setting. When they’ve received thorough training, cashiers can drive sales and create a memorable customer experience that keeps shoppers coming back for more.

What is the role of a cashier?

A cashier works at a store and is the person who helps customers with their purchases. They may be responsible for taking customer payments, processing refunds, and helping customers find what they are looking for. Cashiers are often the first and last point of contact that customers have with a store, so they play an important role in ensuring shoppers have a positive experience.

A cashier’s skills and duties typically include:

  • Greeting customers
  • Processing purchases, returns, and exchanges
  • Handling cash and operating a point-of-sale system
  • Recommending products to customers
  • Promoting sales and other promotions, such as loyalty programs and gift cards
  • Answering the phone
  • Responding to customer questions
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Basic mathematical and financial aptitude
  • Familiarity with the store’s inventory and layout

Why is cashier training important?

With proper training, cashiers can make sure customers have a great time shopping, impact sales, and improve transaction accuracy. 

Cashier helping customer

Customer experience

A cashier is usually the first and last person a customer encounters in a store. That’s why it’s important for a cashier to be welcoming and helpful, and provide great customer service

The role (of cashier) can leave a lasting brand impression because they are the last touchpoint in the customer’s interaction.

Katherine explains, “At their very best, this person can rescue a lackluster in-store experience simply by making eye contact and greeting the shopper with a smile. If the store associate happens to compliment the shopper’s product choice, or engage the shopper in conversation, even better! On the flip side, a cashier can crush a great store experience by appearing aloof or uncaring.” 

When a cashier receives ample training, they’re prepared to leave a good impression on shoppers, help them find what they’re looking for, recommend products, and more. 

Impacts sales

Cashiers need to have a knack for sales. 

Checkout is the time for the cashier to talk to the customer about loyalty programs and/or upcoming promotions and events happening at the store.

Eric Elggren, Co-founder of accessories brand Andar

When a cashier is familiar with products, promotions, and their customers’ preferences and needs, they can make personalized recommendations and sell more. A thorough cashier training program teaches store associates to upsell and cross-sell subtly yet effectively, helping increase purchase size.

Transaction accuracy

When a cashier is well-trained, they know how to use your shop’s POS and are familiar with pricing, promotions, and store policies. Cashier training ensures that customers pay the right amount at checkout.

An untrained cashier may overcharge or offer unauthorized discounts, which can create headaches and more work for managers, or even revenue loss. You can also consider integrating a customer facing display into your POS to reduce transactional errors.

What skills do cashiers need?

In order to perform their duties successfully, cashiers need strong customer service skills, keen sales abilities, and experience handling cash. 

Customer service skills

A positive first impression by a cashier can make or break a customer’s experience with a store. As the face of the business, cashiers need to be able to create a welcoming environment for all guests. They need to help shoppers while being professional, courteous, friendly, and kind.

Sales ability

“A cashier is always there to upsell,” Eric says. “For instance, smaller and cheaper items can be left at the cash wrap for the cashier to push during the checkout process.” 

There are other ways cashiers can drive sales beyond encouraging impulse buys.

For example, a cashier at a clothing store should be able to suggest complementary garments or accessories, while a bicycle shop associate should convince customers to purchase a helmet and reflective equipment with their new bike.

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Experience handling cash

Cashiers handle cash transactions, so basic math and financial skills are a must. They must be able to count how much cash they are given and correctly give the right change back. Cashiers play an important part in making sure the right amount of cash is in the cash drawers at all times. 

Using a point-of-sale (POS) system goes hand-in-hand with handling cash. Even if a cashier hasn’t used a POS system before, a thorough training program can set them on the right track.

How to build a cashier training program in 5 steps

  1. Choose the right training materials
  2. Plan and schedule regular training sessions
  3. Highlight key store policies
  4. Emphasize customer service
  5. Build for scalability

New hires should receive cashier training as part of their onboarding experience. There are a few key steps you can take to build a successful cashier training program.

1. Choose the right training materials

There are many different types of cashier training tools and materials, so it’s important to choose the right ones for your needs. Some of the most popular options include video tutorials, manuals, and online courses.

2. Plan and schedule regular training sessions

Beyond training cashiers at the beginning of their time at your store, you should also build opportunities for continued education further into their tenures. Doing so can help cashiers maintain and upgrade their retail skills.

3. Highlight key store policies

Go over key store policies during cashier training. Review customer-facing policies, such as return policies, discounts, and shipping. Also highlight internal policies, such as how to clock into a shift, how to count stock, who to go to for help, and how to request time off. Consider putting your policies in an employee handbook for easy access.

4. Emphasize customer service

It’s critical to emphasize customer service when training for this guest-facing role. During training, share any values your business has that will impact how cashiers behave. Be clear about what is and is not acceptable behavior, and be consistent in your expectations.

It’s especially important to train cashiers on how to handle difficult or angry customers. If a customer becomes disruptive, cashiers should know how to handle the situation without escalating it. Cashiers should remain calm and polite, and be able to explain the rules of the store in a clear and concise manner.

5. Build for scalability

In an ideal world, you’d train each new cashier one on one and in person. However, due to limited resources, you need to build a cashier training program that’s scalable. Use a variety of training tools and media so staff can do some self-guided learning. 

For example, you may host an in-person orientation and training at the start of the month for new hires, and then move to self-guided online training via courses, videos, and manuals. Then, cashiers can put what they’ve learned into practice through shadowing.

Cashier training tips

Keep these tips in mind as you train new cashiers.

Create space and time for practice

Employee helping customer

Simulate, simulate, simulate. Ensure the new hire has the space and tools needed to learn the system and sales standards before putting them on a sales floor.

Katherine Toll, Principal at the Parker Avery Group

Katherine continues, “Many can learn a basic POS system through online training, but it must be augmented with hands-on experience in a simulated environment. Create practice scenarios for the learners so they can become more confident in using the system and chatting with the ‘customers.’ Develop role-plays using the most typical types of transactions and assign a mentor/buddy to the new hire when they are put on the floor for the first time.”

Equip them with intuitive tools

An easy-to-use POS system will help make training easier. Intuitive tools empower trainees to resolve their own problems. Consider switching POS systems if employees have trouble using your current system.

Create open lines of communication

Clear communication promotes a successful workplace. Explain contact methods and expectations for your new hires. Create a buddy and shadow system so incoming cashiers know who to go to when they need help. Consider creating resources with FAQs or a group chat or Slack where employees can troubleshoot. Finally, create a welcoming workplace culture where employees feel comfortable providing feedback to help the business grow.

Encourage shadowing

Shadowing helps build confidence. Think of it as training wheels before new hires begin working on their own. Building shadowing into your cashier training program is a must.

Set realistic goals

Create training goals then adjust them as needed. You may think that new cashiers only need a week to learn all of your systems, but they may actually need two. Revisit and adjust your training program accordingly.

Introduce new processes incrementally

Change can be hard. When you need to introduce or change internal processes, add new things gradually with training and a transition period to avoid confusing and overwhelming staff.

Train on cross-selling and upselling

Set cashiers up for success by giving them the tools they need to cross-sell and upsell effectively. Make sure to include retail psychology principles as part of your training program.

Examine POS reports to see which items are usually bought together so cashiers can know what to suggest. You might, for example, encourage clothing store cashiers to place complementary items in dressing rooms to give shoppers something to try on that they wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.

💡 PRO TIP: Try using apps to upsell and cross-sell more effectively. Apps like Marsello and Frequently Bought Together integrate with Shopify POS and recommend products to store staff based on what they’ve added to a customer’s cart, making it easier than ever to suggest relevant products, increase basket sizes and order value.

Emphasize company philosophy

Share your company’s values and mission on your store’s website and in your hiring materials to attract the right employees. Doing so will create a strong company culture and help your staff emulate your brand.

Take advantage of external training resources

You don’t have to build a cashier training program from scratch. Take advantage of resources from your tech providers and vendors, such as onboarding documents, training videos, and demos.

Equip your cashiers to deliver excellent customer service

Cashiers are one of the most important roles in a retail setting. They’re the face of your business, which means they can impact sales and the customer experience. With a thoughtful cashier training program, your employees can increase revenue and keep shoppers coming back for more.

Sell the way your customers shop

Only Shopify POS unifies online and in-store sales and makes checkout seamless. Get all the tools you need to break free from the counter and sell wherever your customers are without worrying about your tech stack, integrations, or fragmented sales reports.

Cashier Training FAQ

How do I become a cashier with no experience?

If you are looking to become a cashier with no experience, you may want to look into starting out as a cashier in a retail or grocery store. Many retail and grocery stores offer cashier positions to individuals who are willing to learn and have no prior experience. Additionally, you may want to consider applying to a position at a restaurant or fast food chain. These positions often require less experience and provide on the job training. Finally, you could look into taking a cashiering course at a local community college or vocational school. This could help you gain the necessary skills and knowledge to become a successful cashier.

How long should a cashier be trained?

The length of time required for cashier training can vary depending on the individual and the complexity of the tasks required. Generally, new cashiers should be trained for a minimum of 10 hours, but some employers may require more depending on their specific needs.

What skills should a cashier have?

  • Excellent customer service skills
  • Ability to handle money accurately and efficiently
  • Basic math skills
  • Knowledge of basic accounting principles
  • Good communication skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment
  • Ability to work independently
  • Ability to work with a team
  • Basic computer skills, including working with a POS system