Are long queues in your retail store driving your customers away to competitor stores?
We’ve all stood in lines and grown increasingly impatient as time passes. Did you know that 59% of the customers did not prefer waiting for more than 4 minutes? So how to get to the bottom of it?
The key to solving long wait queues and getting cashiers to tend to your customers is implementing effective queue management strategies to enhance the customer experience. In today’s competitive retail landscape, customers expect quick and efficient service.
Let’s look at some statistics to understand consumer behaviour and the importance of queue management systems:
- 73% of customers quit the purchase if they have to wait longer than 5 minutes.
- A total of 27% bought a similar product from a different shop.
- Queues and long wait times in stores cost retailers 10% of their revenue.
- A study on customer evaluations of queues determined that fairness is the most important factor, followed by the perceived value of service.
- The waiting environment and objective waiting time were the most influential factors in the perceived waiting duration.
The global queue management system market is estimated to reach $1.4 billion by 2031. This article explores practical strategies such as streamlining the checkout process, and installing user-friendly POS sales and virtual queues. It is time to streamline your store’s queuing process, improve customer satisfaction, and drive more revenue.
So, let’s dive in and learn how to make waiting in line a breeze for your customers!
8 Proven Techniques to Reduce Queues in Your Retail Store
Streamline Checkout Processes
The last part of a consumer journey is the checkout process at the counter, and it is necessary to leave our customers wanting to visit again. Maximizing sales comes from strategically placing the checkout counters in the store to direct customers to explore high-priority products.
Once you have mapped out the product and checkout counter placement, it is time to revamp your retail store by installing self-service kiosks. Wavetec’s self-service kiosks help accelerate transactions by offering self-checkouts and custom order placements. Customers will no longer have to wait in queues to process orders. Self-service solutions provide consumers and employees customizable hardware tools and applications to display promotions and offers.
Various payment options are available in self-service kiosks, including a “pay at the corner” option for customers who pay with cash and accept credit cards in many restaurants. You can upgrade to modern POS systems with barcode scanners, touch screens, and integrated payment options. This can significantly speed up the checkout process to eliminate customers needing to take orders at the counter.
Mobile payments can significantly speed up transactions in retail stores with the convenience of near-field communication technology. Customers simply tap their smartphones on a payment terminal, eliminating the need for physical cards or cash and reducing transaction time.
Biometric authentication options like fingerprint or facial recognition in popular mobile payment apps provide quick and secure authentication, eliminating the need for PINs or signatures and further expediting the transaction process.
Seamless integration with existing point of sale (POS) systems ensures a smooth transaction flow, reducing manual data entry and potential errors. Digital receipts generated by mobile payments can be instantly sent via email or stored in-app, eliminating the need for paper receipts and saving valuable checkout time. This gives an opportunity to introduce loyalty programs within mobile payment apps that offer personalized rewards.
Leverage Queue Management Services
Mismanaged physical lines in retail stores result in frustrated consumers unwilling to return to your store. Retail stores should invest in queue management services that dramatically improve the customer experience and simplify checkout.
Some examples of mobilizing technology to reduce waiting times in queues at retail outlets include customers simply issuing a ticket with a number for their checkout transaction without waiting in a physical line. This can be done using the virtual queuing feature on WhatsApp and Mobile-Q application.
The customer scans the QR code to open the designated chat feature. Next, the customers receive a virtual ticket against which they can cancel or reschedule appointments and check the queue status. This impacts reducing congestion within the store and allowing customers to move more freely around the outlet.
Before you pick the right technology for a queue management system to invest in, we have some tips for you. Analyze consumer behaviour and purchasing power at the retail store. You must weigh the cost of installing the system and calculate the Return on Investment (ROI) on it with managed queues.
We recommend you run a pilot test with a queue management system to identify areas of improvement. Educating your staff and tracking and assessing the effectiveness of the system on the customer journey is necessary., For an in-depth understanding of electronic queue management systems, visit our website today.
Manage Customer Flow
The first step of managing customer flow is considering an open concept plan with broad aisles and clear pathways for customers can easily navigate the store. Retail stores usually adopt a grid layout to allow a natural flow of customers and make the store explorable. Many stores place popular products at the end of the store for customers to explore completely.
For instance, placing the socks aisle next to the shoe aisle is just one of the several hacks for managing customer flow in-store.
The next most important step in customer flow management is using digital signs and visual cues to direct customers around the store. These include entry and exit signs, counter numbering, and floor markings showing product categories and sale items.
Digital Signage Solutions by Wavetec can be integrated with Queue Management and People Counting technology to display wait times and queue status.
An efficient team knows when to expect an influx of customers to manage high-volume sales. Brief your staff members before the start of a sale season and a holiday event. Crowd control management methods during periods of heavy traffic by limiting the number of consumers in the store at once. Staff members should constantly monitor inventory levels to prevent overcrowding at aisles. The team and customer service representatives are trained to quickly answer queries and guide customers.
Provide Alternative Services
Retail stores have expanded to a hybrid in-store and virtual shopping services model to cater to increased foot traffic and serve customers in their comfort zone. Convenient shopping solutions via e-commerce and mobile platform apps include curbside pickups, drive-thru, home delivery, virtual assistance, and appointment-based shopping.
Curbside pickups, drive-thru and click-and-collect shopping, are based on the similar concept of customers placing orders online or via phone calls. Customers can then collect their orders from designated pickup points, or staff members can bring them to parking areas. Drive-thru features allow customers to immediately collect order items without leaving the vehicle, similar to fast-food drive-thru service. This saves the hassle of entering and navigating the store.
Customers enjoy home services, and since the advent of the pandemic, the trend has shifted to online shopping. After browsing for desired products on the website, customers place an order, conveniently pay online and receive the parcel within an estimated delivery date.
Tell your customers about the game-changing virtual shopping assistance and appointment-based shopping in which the staff gives personalized recommendations and product details. Advertise the flexible and a safe customer shopping experience on social media platforms to gain more audience and higher sales.
Staff members are why your retail store is up and functional daily. Understand the importance of hiring the right number and additional employees in peak times and busy sales seasons. Overburdening staff members decreases efficiency and does not contribute to a positive customer experience. Therefore, split shifts with flexible timetables for staff and analyze foot traffic consistently to hire staff if needed.
A task force with a diverse skill set can answer multiple customer queries, which calls for cross-training your employees. The employees are trained for different tasks, in the store, such as cash register, customer service, and merchandising. This allows for flexible deployment of staff to areas where queues are forming, helping to control wait time.
Create dedicated stations for intricate procedures.
Having dedicated stations in retail stores specifically designed for complex or time-consuming procedures can significantly boost operational efficiency.
For instance, imagine a retail store with a dedicated station where customers can bring in their damaged shoes for repairs or customization requests. This dedicated station would have trained personnel who can efficiently handle these intricate tasks without disrupting the regular checkout process.
Entertaining each query would consume a lot of time, which ultimately reduces traffic flow at the checkout counter. Thus, specialized stations for product customization, repairs, or returns provide personalized attention to customers. Retail stores can ensure a smoother and more convenient experience for their customers and staff for higher productivity.
Explore the use of Virtual queues
Virtual queuing is one of the most effective ways to control the number of individuals in the retail store. Besides this, consider a virtual queuing platform as a customizable marketing tool for your clients. Retailers can create exclusive virtual queues for limited-time offers, personalized and play product demonstration consultations, and tutorials.
Customer retention and engagement are highly influenced by the gamification of virtual queues to include leaderboards, rewards, and challenges, encouraging customers to join and participate.
Choose a user-friendly POS (Point of Sale) system.
A user-friendly POS system with a well-designed interface minimizes the potential for human errors, increases staff productivity and quickly processes transactions. We recommend considering the ease of use of the POS, flexibility, and features offered. Look for systems that offer intuitive interfaces, easy navigation, and customizable options that allow self-service kiosks.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, LINK Sportswear wanted to host in-house sales requiring safe distancing measures and controlled queues. The sportswear company partnered with Wavetech to install virtual queue management systems.
Link Sportswear adopted a solution for the entire consumer journey, including WhatsApp Queueing, online scheduling and customer feedback collection. They effectively managed customer flow, reduced congestion, and enhanced customer satisfaction.
The success of Wavetech’s queue management solutions in improving the retail experience for Link Sportswear’s customers resulted in increased footfall and higher customer loyalty.
During the pandemic, the largest retail company, Nike, wanted to work around social distancing while pleasures. The company adopted the WhatsApp Queuing Solution for customers to scan QR codes, receive virtual tickets and update waiting times. With this custom package, Nike fulfilled distancing guidelines and satisfied customers.
Are you interested in customers leaving your retail store with positive feedback?
Now is the time to invest in queue management systems, digital signage, curbside pickups and point-of-sale systems for customer ease. Implement strategies such as optimizing store layout, leveraging technology solutions, and adequate staffing to abandon wait queues.
So what are you waiting for today?
Get in touch with us today and upgrade your retail store today!BOOK A FREE DEMO