The festive period can be a stressful time for consumers – but throw a worldwide pandemic, long queues and miserable weather into the mix and it’s a recipe for disaster. A number of grocery retailers are taking an affirmative stance this festive season by eliminating queues to turkey pickups with an online queuing system.
So what if it’s August and you’re already talking about 2020 like it’s about to finish. That just shows your head is buried deep in the retail world.
After months of lockdown and plummeting sales figures, retailers are eager to switch their attention from reopening their stores and making some much-needed sales to reaching their undoubtedly ambitious Q4 and Christmas sales targets.
And retailers aren’t the only ones planning to kickstart the holiday period early. According to a new study by Ebay, more than a quarter (27%) of UK consumers are planning to start shopping and preparations for Christmas earlier than usual this year.
In fact, 34% of UK shoppers claim to have already bought Christmas-related products, including cards, wrapping paper, presents and decorations.
Another study by Rakuten found three quarters of consumers around the world are not planning on reducing their spending during Christmas this year, and 87% of global shoppers will still be shopping for Christmas and other seasonal holidays. In addition, 57% said they expect to make a purchase on key retail sales dates like Black Friday.
While the Christmas holiday season is still on, there will be a number of new challenges retailers will be up against this year, most notably, queuing.
Why grocery retailers are using queuing software for turkey collection
Christmas shopping is synonymous with long queues, and one of the most controversial and dreaded queues during the Christmas period is the queue for turkey collection, with customers sometimes waiting for hours before being served.
This stops customers from picking up any last minute items still left on their shopping list, and stops them from being able to spend holiday time with family, creating a poor experience for their customers and, in some cases, reducing the likelihood of them returning to the store again.
But in a world of face masks and social distancing, asking your customers to queue not only creates a poor customer experience, it also places your customers and staff at risk.
Instead of asking their customers to wait in queues, a number of grocery retailers are already investing in virtual queuing software that allows customers to remotely wait in line.
How does turkey collection work with a virtual queuing app?
- The customer arrives at the store to collect their turkey.
- They check-in to the store turkey collection queue through a QR code, SMS message, a self-service kiosk or through a member of staff.
- The customer receives an SMS confirming their estimated wait time and position number, as well as a weblink that allows them to track their position.
- The customer can browse the store, pick up last-minute items or even carry out a large food shop.
- Customers receive a text informing them that their order is ready.
This Christmas, some retailers will even be looking to deliver a contactless curbside click and collect service that allows customers to wait in the comfort and safety of their own cars while their order is delivered directly to their car boots.
How Waitrose benefitted from a virtual queue for turkey collection
Major British supermarket chain, Waitrose, implemented a virtual queuing system for in-store Christmas turkey collection, and experienced the following results.
- 88% of customers rated the system as “excellent”.
- 100% of customers in the Waitrose store stated that they would use the service next Christmas.
- Staff able to serve customers 30 seconds faster.
- Average queue wait time of 7.5 minutes.
- 800% ROI as customers made other purchases while they waited.