How to increase Units per Transaction (UPT)

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Increasing your units per transaction is often what determines success versus failure for the small to mid size retailer. How best to do this hinges primarily on understanding and engaging with your customers. This article identifies key practices to increase your units per transaction covering different aspects of your interaction with your customers.

Selling more is a direct reflection of you and your staff. Placement and signage are only so effective. The key is engaging with your customers starting with the interaction from your sales personnel on the floor. They are the first point of interaction a customer will have with your business. Besides hiring sales associates with experience and providing training, now they need the tools to build relationships with the customers. This not only will build the trust and result in additional add ons being purchased but also increase return visits.

How to Recommend Add Ons

Drop the “Would you like a … (scarf to go with your sweater)”, customer are so tuned to this that they have the “No thanks” formed before you have completed the sentence.

Try suggesting

  • Have you tried pairing your ivory cashmere sweater with our new shipment of  teal French silk scarves.
  • Did you notice our new arrival of teal French silk scarves? We are having a special on them this week
  • Has anyone told you about our amazing special going on today?

Notice that these techniques do not ask the customer to buy the product but instead the sales associate is asking if they have tried, noticed, or been told about the item. The phases are conversational and encourage the customer to consider the option brought forth by the sales associate.

The Point of Sale

This is a prime opportunity to solidify your relationship with the customers. It’s no longer enough to complete the transaction, bag the merchandise and politely say good bye. You have a captive audience from your customer and one final opportunity to increase your units per transaction and ensure a repeat customer.

The customer is generally relaxed and impulse items are easier to sell. Your POS may have custom tailored recommended items prompts, similar to your Amazon on line purchasing experience. Ask your POS provider to add this vital feature, if available.

Does your POS has customer history, this provides another opportunity to reach your customer on a personal level.  By mentioning recent purchases, the sales associate can remind the customer that they may need to replenish the purchase or have a related product that enhances their experience with the original purchase. This type of personal interaction is reminds customers as to why they still shop in the traditional brick and mortar shops.

Create Sales Challenges

Focusing on a particular product line, or area for a week or a month can also help generate add on business. Sales Associates are motivated to recommend these items and the internal contest keeps it fun for the employees. You POS System should be able to track sales by employee so you can update your employees as the contest runs.

Retail Key Performance Indicators 

This blog covers a number of techniques to improve your UPT, but wouldn’t it be great to tie it all together with matrix so that you can see how effective these improvements are to your success. Focus on Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to track from a retail store perspective. Your POS System will provide reports and/or a mobile app so that you have immediate access and can tweak your approach to get the desired effect.

These positive sales experiences all hinge on your salespeople being able to build solid customer relationships built on authenticity. Your goal is for your sales associates to be seen as trusted advisors to your customers. Sales isn’t an art, it’s a science. Teach your sales associates the basics and with continued mentoring will tweak and develop their authentic approach. Use the tool provided by your POS system to give your employees access to the knowledge about your customers to further build that relationship.

A customer who is enjoying their experience in your brick and mortar store is easier to upsell and more likely to buy add-ons. That’s what raises your UPT – not promotions and discounts that might increase units sold but destroy overall profitability.


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