How to make your Santa experience safe with virtual queuing software

Imogen Wethered
by Imogen Wethered

At a time where world-renowned Christmas markets such as London’s Winter Wonderland have announced they won’t be returning this year, and with The Rockettes’ ‘Christmas Spectacular’ cancelled for the first time in 87 years, many must be asking themselves this important question – is Santa Claus really coming to town this year?

While they might not always choose to admit it, the festive season usually warrants a great deal of stress for retailers. Availability of stock, availability of staff, and the availability of time are some of the many thoughts retail leaders would have floating about in their heads this time of year, but with Covid-19 set to stay for the remainder of 2020, there are a number of even bigger hurdles on the horizon.

On the bright side, consumers don’t seem to be letting the global pandemic squash their Christmas spirit. A survey 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.

This Christmas, retailers will be focusing the bulk of their attention on creating safe and engaging customer experiences in their stores – and one way to achieve that is through their Santa’s Grotto experience.

Virtual queuing and time-slot scheduling can make Santa’s Grotto safer

One of the most anticipated items on the Christmas agenda for children and adults alike is Santa’s Grotto. Normally, parents would line up with their children before meeting Santa and having their photos taken, but this becomes significantly more difficult when social distancing measures come into play.

One way to tackle this problem is by enabling customers to join a virtual queue. Parents and their children can enter a queue through their smartphones via SMS or QR code, or they can join via a customer host or through a kiosk if need be. Once in the queue, parents receive a SMS update confirming their place and providing them with a position number, estimated wait time and a weblink which they can use to track their position in real-time. When it’s time to approach Santa, the parents will receive a SMS letting them know.

Find out more about virtual queuing

Another alternative is to allow customers to book time-slot appointments online when visiting your Santa’s Grotto. Customers can simply select an available time-slot that suits them, then once it’s confirmed, arrive at the grotto to meet Santa. They will receive a confirmation email and SMS alongside reminder messages to keep them engaged throughout the experience.

How the Qudini Queuing System eliminated the Christmas queues at Santa’s Grotto

Greenwich Market is London’s only historic market set within a World Heritage site. Surrounded by independent and boutique shops, well established designer-makers, and a range of gastro pubs, restaurants, cafes and wine bars. At Christmas they host Santa in a grotto experience.

Here’s some of the results they experienced:

Read the case study here.

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