New consumer survey suggests retailers could benefit from positioning a customer host at the front of stores to better manage the customer journey during the Coronavirus pandemic.
On the 25th of September, 2020, Qudini ran a consumer survey to 2,000 British shoppers to better understand how they were interacting with stores during the Coronavirus era, including how often they visit stores, what types of stores they visit, and what types of initiatives they want in stores.
In the survey, we asked consumers on the usefulness and benefits of customer hosts at the front of stores that managed the waiting experience and could sign them up to virtual queues, schedule them in for appointments, manage occupancy levels in store and answer general questions that aid in the customer journey.
Before Covid-19, 83% of consumers admitted to walking out of stores without buying anything because of queues and waits for service (10% wait they did so “often”, 38% said “Sometimes” and 35% said “rarely”. During the pandemic, half (48%) of consumers said they are even more likely to do so (20% said “much more likely” and 28% said “more likely”).
Millennial and GenZ consumers are 1.7 times more likely than Baby Boomers to walk out of stores without buying something because of queues and waits, while higher income households are 2-3 times more likely than lower income earners. Females are also slightly more likely than males.
21% of consumers stated they are not prepared to wait an average of more than 3 minutes for service within a store, 19% stated between 3 and 7 minutes and another 19% stated between 8 and 10 minutes.
61% of consumers agreed with the statement “A long waiting experience would make me less likely to return to a retailer” (26% strongly agreeing and 35% somewhat agreeing).
We also looked at the top concerns customers have when queuing, and identified contracting Covid-19 (40%), the weather (36%) and not knowing how long you have to wait (34%) as being the top concerns.
The survey also found that younger generations and consumers from higher income households actually feel undervalued by brands that have long queues outside.
The benefits of having a dedicated customer host
Overall, consumers responded positively to the idea of a customer host managing their waiting experience at the front of busy stores, stating that:
- 29% would be more likely to wait in the queue – demonstrating that host managed waiting experiences could help to retain a third of customers in the event of a wait to enter the store or receive service.
- 26% would be more likely to return to the store – suggesting that using a customer host to manage the waiting experience could improve loyalty amongst a quarter of customers.
- 29% would think better of the retailer and 24% would feel safer and happier in the current environment – demonstrating that using hosts would help to improve customer relationships and brand relevance.
- 14% would be more likely to tell their friends about the retailer – indicating that advocacy and NPS scores will be improved with retailers using hosts.
- 12% would be more likely to buy something in-store, while 11% would also be more likely to shop with the retailer online – suggesting that by using hosts to manage the waiting experience, retailers can increase their immediate and long-term revenues across channels.
- 16% would be more likely to choose the retailer over their competitors – suggesting that retailers can improve their long-term customer acquisition and growth through a host managed queuing experience.
! These results demonstrate that retailers with long waiting experience could obtain a significant return on investment through using customer hosts to manage customers.
Younger consumers want customer hosts
A host managed waiting experience is more likely to drive younger generations to make purchases both online and in-store. Compared to Baby Boomers, GenZ customers are twice as likely to buy something in-store and Millennials are 38% more likely. Both Millennial and GenZ customers are 3 times more likely than Baby Boomers to buy something online with the retailer as a result of a good experience.
Compared to other generations, Baby Boomers state they are 31% more likely to be retained by a host managed waiting experience and 25% more likely to think better of the retailer. They are also slightly more likely to return to stores again.
These insights show what we all instinctively know to be true: driving sales and loyalty now needs to take place across all channels rather than solely within stores like it has in the past.
And as these younger demographics increase in their spending power, retailers offering great store experiences will have even more to gain across their entire omni-channel offering.
Customers hosts resonate well with consumers from higher income households
Higher earning households are also significantly more likely to be converted to in-store and online sales and to telling their friends about brands as a result of a host managed waiting experience.
We also asked consumers how they’d feel about using virtual queuing systems to enter stores. Below we’ve compared the results to the benefits of virtual queues with the benefits of a customer host: