Retail leaders are in two minds about customer queuing. On the one hand, queues outside of stores create a sense of demand – a buzz around your brand. On the other hand, excessive queuing creates a poor customer experience that can lead to walkouts, loss of sales and a negative reputation.
But during a global pandemic that still poses a very real threat to our health and economy, most retail leaders are in alignment with the fact that asking customers to queue outside stores is not a good idea.
Thankfully, there’s an easy way brands can set up virtual queues outside their stores that allow customers to join a queue via their mobile phones, giving them real-time alerts when it’s time to return to store.
Here are some of the many business benefits of using queuing software:
1) It creates a better customer experience
When stores first reopened after the lockdown, a key focus for many retailers was on making up for lost sales, and rightly so – but many have come to realise that providing a safe and engaging customer experience is key to persuading customers to return to stores and keep coming back.
Queue management software creates a significantly better customer experience by enabling customers to save time, feel less stressed and reduce their risk of catching or spreading Covid-19.
Grocery store retailer, Asda, created virtual queues outside its stores during the lockdown period and beyond to stop customers from having to physically queue before entering stores.
- 65% of customers voted the queuing system a 5 out of 5 while a further 4% voted the system a 4 out of 5.
- 67% voted the queuing system’s effectiveness at enforcing social distancing a 5 out of 5 while a further 11% voted the system a 4 out of 5.
- 64% of customers voted the wait time a 5 out of 5 while 11% voted it a 4 out of 5.
2) Greater sales and ROI
The most appealing aspect of virtual queue management software is its ability to reduce walkout rates, increase sales and boost unplanned purchasing.
This allows customers to wait in their cars, browse the store, or even get a coffee. Customers can join a virtual queue either through a host with a tablet, a self-service kiosk or from their own mobile phone (using an app, a QR code or an SMS code). They are then provided with a queue position number and an intelligently calculated, personalized wait time. Customers remain updated of their wait time and queue position by SMS message, a personalized smartphone countdown and TV displays in-store.
After implementing a queuing system into its stores, telco retailer O2 was able to reduce customer walkout rates by 62%.
3) Boost customer loyalty
Another benefit of using a virtual queue management system is its ability to boost customer loyalty figures. As the waiting experience is significantly reduced and noticeably more enjoyable, customers are more likely to return to store.
After establishing virtual queues outside a number of its stores, Peter Cross, the Director of supermarket chain Waitrose (which is owned by department store retailer John Lewis), says:
“We are thrilled to work with Qudini on this brand new trial which will let you wait for your turn in line from the comfort of your car, ensuring that everyone can continue to shop safely and seamlessly.”