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How Consumers Want to Shop in UK Optician and Eyewear Stores

by Ed Heal

How do customers want their experiences to be managed within optical and eyewear stores…

To understand how Qudini can help our optical and eyewear retail clients at this important time, we sought to understand which of our four key Retail Choreography tools customers wanted to see within optical and eyewear stores to better manage their experience. So we surveyed customer opinions on:

  • Virtual Queuing Systems: To manage store capacity and to enable customers to queue virtually using their phone or through a host with a tablet.
  • Appointment Scheduling Software: To enable customers to schedule store visits and in-person service or virtual service 24/7 from any channel.
  • Contactless Collection Check-in: To enable customers with online orders to check-in when they arrive at store so that store teams bring their order to them outside of the store.

Cartoons showing queuing, appointment and click and collect scenarios

How do customers want their experiences to be managed within optical and eyewear stores…

Customer priorities of these tools specific to optical and eyewear stores were as follows:

For Millennial and GenZ customers:

1. Store appointments (21%)

2. Virtual appointments (16%)

3. Contactless online order collections (15%)

3. Virtual queuing (14%)

4. Virtual appointments (11%)

 

For Baby Boomer customers:

1. Store appointments (32%)

2. Virtual appointments (19%)

3. Virtual queuing systems (16%)

4. Contactless online order collection (5%)

 

Customer survey showing which Retail Choreography solutions are most in demand

Overall, consumers earning between £50k and £100k where the most likely to want virtual queuing and store appointments at optical and eyewear retailers. Contactless click and collection, on the other hand, is particularly popular with those with a household income upwards of £150k.

Female consumers were more interested in each solution than male consumers. This suggests that for optical and eyewear retailers primarily targeting female consumers, there’s an even greater business case for investing in these in-store experience tools to drive sales.

Customer survey showing which Retail Choreography solutions are most in demand

When asked why customers would find virtual queuing and appointment booking software useful within retail stores during the pandemic, it was clear that most customers felt the solutions could alleviate their health concerns, alongside their concerns around wasted time, poor weather conditions, lack of information and fair process.

Bar chart showing top benefits of virtual wait line and appointment systems

 

What impact would using these solutions have on optical and eyewear store customer spend, advocacy and loyalty?

The survey responses also indicate that optical and eyewear stores who use any of these five solutions to choreograph their customers’ experience stand to gain significantly through improved revenues and brand relationships across channels.

This is particularly prevalent amongst Millennial and GenZ customers where an average of 77% state that the solutions would positively impact their interactions with retailers in one or more of the following ways:

Bar chart showing that 50% of customers are more likely to visit retail stores if they use the five Retail Choreography solutions

 

Could Covid-19 be a catalyst for a new era of omni-channel optical and eyewear stores ?

Our survey found that Millennial and GenZ customers are 3-4 times more likely to find Retail Choreography tools useful within optical and eyewear retail stores.

When compared with Baby Boomers across all types of retail stores, these younger generations also report that if a retailer used such tools to manage their experience, they would be:

All this confirms what we all instinctively know to be true – Millennial and GenZ customers want retailers to use digital tools to improve their experience, and they will be driven to spend more and to engage more across a retailer’s entire omni-channel offering in return.

The significantly greater interest in Retail Choreography tools from younger generations suggests they may have wanted these kinds of tools all along and that Covid-19 will prove to be a catalyst for a new era of omni-channel retailing as retailers realise the powerful business case benefits behind offering such tools.

Bar chart showing top benefits of virtual wait line and appointment systems

To further add to the business case benefit of using Retail Choreography solutions within optical and eyewear stores and the conclusion that Covid will prove to be a catalyst for a new era of omni-channel retailing where queues are eliminated and in-store or virtual appointments and curbside pickup become the norm.

 

 

The survey insights showed the powerful business case benefits for Retail Choreography tools within optical and eyewear stores

Our survey also showed that, when compared with their lower household income peers, higher household income groups were 1.6 times more likely to be driven to buy something online or in-store as a result of a retailer using these tools.

21% said they were more likely to make an in-store purchase and 19% were more likely to shop with the retailer online, compared with 12.5% of those from lower household income groups.

Bar chart showing top benefits of virtual wait line and appointment systems

Overall, our survey shows that a long wait time is more likely to deter younger generations and those from higher household income groups from visiting stores or returning in the future. To combat this, the insights show that Retail Choreography tools offer a powerful antidote, as these same demographics are also the most likely to be driven to purchase in-store and online across a retailer’s channels, and the most likely to return again as a result of a retailer’s use of digital tools to choreograph their experience.

 

 

How long customers are prepared to wait for service within optical and eyewear stores…

When asked how long customers are willing to wait in optical and eyewear stores we found that:

17% will only tolerate a wait of up to 3 minutes. 17% will wait between 3-7 minutes and 22% will be willing to wait between 8 and 10 minutes. In total, this means that more than half of optical and eyewear store shoppers (56%) will only wait up to 10 minutes for service.

These insights demonstrate that the wait time does not need to be long before significant revenues can be lost.

Interestingly, despite being more likely to walkout without buying anything and less likely to return to the store if they are forced to wait, Millennial and GenZ customers have a higher mean wait time threshold than older generations when it comes to waiting in queues at optical and eyewear stores. They are more patient of longer waits, though less tolerant and also, more personally insulted if a wait exceeds their expectations.

Graph showing how long customers will wait for service in-store overall and by generation

Interestingly, the survey found that consumers from higher income households are more willing to wait, although less forgiving of the brand when returning.

Graph showing how long customers will wait in line in retail stores

Optical and eyewear store wait time tolerance is similar to that of other retail stores selling big ticket items, such as cycle stores, travel agencies and car dealerships.

Chart showing how long customers will wait for service in different retail stores

 

Improving profitability and driving lasting brand relevance

These insights show that both during and outside of the Coronavirus, optical and eyewear stores have much to gain by using Retail Choreography solutions to manage queues, to offer in-store and virtual appointments and to provide contactless click and collect pickup services.

Our many case studies with leading optical and eyewear stores have also shown the same. For more information on how we can help your brand take a look at our customer success stories or get in touch with our team for a demo at info@qudini.com

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Peak season is just around the corner!

Have you thought about how you’re going to manage peak season traffic this winter?

New best practice guide

Our new best practice guide explains how Appointment Booking Landing pages will drive traffic to your in-store and virtual appointment services.

Latest consumer survey report

Our latest consumer survey report shows which types of retail stores and banks customers want to be able to schedule appointments within…

Recent consumer survey report

Our recent consumer survey report shows how the pandemic has changed consumer shopping habits and which habits will be here to stay…

Upcoming Webinar

Our Upcoming Webinar will present consumer insights on how the pandemic has changed consumer shopping habits. Sign-up below for Tuesday October 12th (2pm ET | 11am PT).