How to Reduce Customer Queuing Time in the Retail Environment
One of the hardest aspects for any retailer to manage is customer queues: in particular the amount of time it takes for the consumer to pay for their goods and leave. Handled incorrectly, this can result in poor satisfaction levels and a low customer return rate. Thus, it’s imperative that you utilise the right strategies so that you get everyone through the purchasing process without wasting too much time.
1. Have Staff There to Assist
Since one of the most common retail frustrations is seeing another queue move faster than yours, it will help to get everyone through efficiently while still retaining a feeling of equality. While the fairest solution is having one queue feed into several cash registers, often this isn’t practical especially in a packed retail environment.
A better solution will be to have staff on hand to direct customers into better positions. In this way, you can even out the queues, ensuring everyone gets through as quickly as possible without that feeling of unfairness creeping into disrupt overall consumer satisfaction levels.
2. Entertain Those Queuing
Giving individuals something to do while they’re waiting is also an effective retail strategy. While this won’t decrease the time spent before making a purchase, what will happen is occupying your customers will make the wait time seem shorter. By altering the individual’s perception of time, you can actually keep everyone happier without taking seconds off the queue. This mind trick can be done by:
- Placing merchandise near the queue
- Playing advertisements on TV screens
- Getting staff to talk with waiting customers
- Having music play in the background
Occupy the customer’s mind and they won’t complain if they happen to wait for a little longer. If you can grab their attention in the moments prior to the purchase, you can help them fight off boredom while in your store.
3. Use Enough Cash Registers
An age old security trick that often backfires is only having one cash register in the store. While this stops staff from stealing from the till and ensures you only have one pile of cash to keep under surveillance, this can drastically increase wait times especially if your workers can’t use the devices as efficiently as you’d like.
Instead, you should purchase multiple registers making sure to opt for a high tech model. Modern EPoS equipment of today is efficient and user friendly, giving your staff the opportunity to complete purchases quickly and help move the queues along in a rapid manner. By ensuring all workers have the right tools, you can reduce wait times quite easily.
Also Read: Mobile Monitoring App Protects Your Business
4. Track Customers with New Technology
If you’re running a large retail outlet, you’ll also have the task of adjusting to peak shopping periods without putting too many sales staff at the registers. After all, you don’t want them sitting around doing nothing! On the other hand, you’ll need to avoid excessive queue build up as well.
If you’re struggling to find the optimal balance, it will pay to track customers using an array of technology. By installing the following devices around your premises, you can then man the tills with an adequate number of employees.
- Traffic counters in the parking lot can forecast arrivals
- Register cameras to track total customer queue time
The combination of these two technologies can tell the store managers two vital pieces of information. One, it can inform them of a potential peak in check out numbers so they can then send additional staff to the registers if need be. Two, it can tell the manager how long individuals wait at the cash register before purchase. This allows them to adjust the predicted time between arrival and check out, and also see which strategies are actually working when it comes to reducing queue times and boosting customer satisfaction.
5. Use Alternative Distribution Channels
Lastly, an innovative way to decrease wait times is to make it so that your customers don’t even have to visit your store in the first place! Give them other avenues to make purchases, enquires, etc. Banks do this all the time through various alternative distribution channels such as mobile and internet banking. In the retail environment, there is no reason why you cannot do the same thing. By creating a web catalogue and mobile shopping app, people can buy from your store without actually visiting in person. In this way, you can still retain their custom while drastically reducing the amount of queuing going on in your shop on a daily basis.
With these techniques, you can reduce congestion within your store and help your customers make their purchases in a more efficient manner. This will keep everyone happy while ensuring your retail environment is still spacious and friendly. Fight off the crowds by being smart when it comes to onsite queue management.
About the Author:
Martha Williams is a writer working on a freelance basis for Epos Now Ltd, one of the leading providers of best epos systems in UK.
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