Survey of 2,000 US consumers finds people are worried about their health when waiting in line to enter stores or to receive service. As a result, they’re less willing to wait and more likely to walk out of stores without making a purchase.
On October 26, 2020, Qudini surveyed more than 2,000 US consumers to gain a better understanding of how they are interacting with stores during the Coronavirus era.
Our survey found:
The majority of consumers are still avoiding stores
While stores have reopened, 63% of consumers are avoiding them as a result of Covid-19. This is especially true for consumers from higher income households and Millennial and GenZ consumers.
Health concerns are the main reasons stopping consumers from visiting stores
With 81% of consumers that are avoiding stores stating this to be true, followed by an increased use of online shopping (51%) and financial concerns (36%).
Customer’s biggest concerns when visiting stores
When it comes to visiting stores, customers’ biggest concerns are:
- Other people not wearing masks (56%), getting too close to other people (55%), touching products that other people have touched (45%) and having to wear a mask (28%).
- Having to line up inside and outside of stores is a concern to 24% of people.
Consumers want technology to choreograph the customer journey
Before the pandemic, technology to reduce wait lines (35%), appointment scheduling for services (32%) and curbside collection (27%) were the most important systems. During the pandemic, this has changed to contactless curbside collection (53%), virtual services at home (42%) and the technology to reduce wait times and book appointments (both at 40%).
Consumers are less willing to wait in lines to enter stores or for service:
When consumers do visit stores, they are less willing to line up and more likely to walkout without making a purchase.
- Before Covid-19, 85% of consumers admitted to walking out of stores without buying anything because of lines and waits for service (14% wait they did so “often”, 33% said “Sometimes” and 35% said “rarely”. During the pandemic, half (53%) of consumers said they are even more likely to do so (28% said “much more likely” and 25% said “more likely”).
- Higher income households are also more likely to walk out of a store without buying anything during the Coronavirus outbreak because of waits, with 72% stating this to be the case.
- 20% of consumers stated they are not prepared to wait an average of more than 3 minutes for service within a store, 17% stated between 4 and 7 minutes and another 16% stated between 8 and 10 minutes. Only 19% of consumers will wait more than 15 minutes.
- 63% of consumers agreed with the statement “A long waiting experience would make me less likely to return to a retailer” (30% strongly agreeing and 33% somewhat agreeing).
Consumers fear catching Coronavirus while waiting in lines
Contracting Contracting Covid-19 was the top concern amongst 47% consumers when waiting in lines, followed by being uncomfortable standing too long (35%), not knowing how long you have to wait (34%), wasting time (28%) and weather conditions (26%).
Imogen Wethered, CEO and Co-founder of Qudini, says:
“The fact that retail’s biggest spenders: higher income earners and younger generations are the most likely to be avoiding stores, and to walk out of stores without making purchases when there are lines (before Covid and even more so during the pandemic), is a worrying insight. As we race towards Black Friday peak period retailers that don’t utilize readily-available retail software that enables their customers to join virtual lines (from a host with a tablet or even their phone) or pre-book times to visit stores are missing out on potential revenues and run the risk of losing repeat business.”
The survey also revealed that retailers that deployed Retail Choreography software solutions, including in-store appointments, contactless collection services, host managed waiting experiences, virtual wait line systems and virtual appointments, stand to gain significantly through improved brand relationships across channels.
On average, across different types of stores, customers rated the usefulness of these different Retail Choreography solutions in the following order:
- Virtual appointments (45%)
- Virtual wait line system (20%)
- Contactless pickup (20%)
- In-store appointments (18%)
- Hosts with tablets (18%)
“Overall, these survey insights show customers want and expect more digital ways of being managed, and the revenue and brand relationship benefit of doing so for retailers is significant. More and more retailers are realizing how virtual wait line systems and appointment booking software can help them to build customer confidence to visit stores, alongside better long-term relationships, and so we’re setting up retailers by the day as Black Friday and December peak season approaches.”