4 ways retailers can eliminate the need for queues during Covid-19

Dylan Brown
by Dylan Brown

Nobody likes waiting in queues, but we do it because we have to – or so we tell ourselves. The truth is, consumers no longer have to wait in queues; they can buy products online, receive virtual service through video calls, or enter a virtual queue instead of physically lining up.

Having queues inside your store to receive service or to pay for items at the checkout not only creates a poor customer experience, it actually costs you. A shocking number of customers walk out of stores when lines are too long, and they’re significantly less likely to return to store.

But with the right virtual queuing system and appointment scheduling software in place, retailers can eliminate queues altogether, creating a much more positive customer experience, increasing average transaction value rates, reducing walk out rates and improving staff productivity.

Read: The ROI benefits of virtual queuing systems.

Here are 4 ways retailers can eliminate the need for queues inside of stores:

1) Use a virtual queuing system

With Covid-19, many retailers are having to drastically reduce the number of customers allowed inside stores at any one given time.

But instead of asking customers to physically wait outside of stores, many leading retailers are using queue management software to create a safe and simple queuing experience.

A queuing app allows customers to join a queue remotely through their mobile phones via SMS or QR code (or through a store host if need be). Once entered into a queue, the customer is given a queue position, estimated wait time, and a weblink to track their progress in the queue. They are then notified via SMS when it is time to return to the store.

Asda’s virtual queuing system which has rolled out to a number of locations throughout the UK.

The same approach is also being applied inside stores for particularly busy departments. For instance, luxury department store retailer, Brown Thomas, is using Qudini’s queuing software for busy brands such as Chanel and Lululemon.

Find out more about Qudini’s queue management system

Many leading brands are also using the same queuing software for in-store services, such as O2 (watch the video below).

2) Deploy appointment scheduling software

Another way to stop customers from having to queue to enter stores is using time-slot scheduling software, which allows customers to book a specific time to enter a store.

The aforementioned Brown Thomas and its sister company Selfridges is using Qudini’s time-slot scheduling software to allow customers to book times to enter stores through their websites. Customers are kept updated and engaged with regular notification and reminder emails and SMS messages before their visit.

Brown Thomas and Selfridges also use Qudini’s booking software to enable customers to book in-store appointments for services with beauty and style experts.

Brown Thomas allows customers to book appointments online with in-store style experts.

Learn about Qudini’s appointment booking software

3) Encouraging online appointments

Another way to meet the needs of consumers while encouraging social distancing and reducing the number of customers in-store is by making your services available online.

During the lockdown period, many retailers invested in appointment scheduling software that allowed customers to easily connect with their product or service experts via video calling – and many brands found this approach so successful that they are continuing to do it post lockdown.

4) Contactless click and collect

The queue to pickup online or BOPIS orders in-stores can often be just as long as the checkout queues, begging many customers to question why they bothered buying items online in the first place.

But, during Covid-19, a long click and collect queue not only leads to a bad customer experience, it also puts your customers and staff at greater risk.

That’s why many retailers are investing in click and collect software that eliminates the need for queues by allowing customers to remotely check-in to pickup an online order using their mobile phones.

Some retailers, such as Currys PC World, have taken this a step further by creating a drive-thru curbside click and collect service outside their stores.

The days of queuing inside and outside of stores are numbered. Book a demo with us today to find out how we can help your brand improve its in-store experience and encourage social distancing.
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