US survey insights: Why retailers should put customer hosts at the front of their stores

Dylan Brown
by Dylan Brown

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 26th of October, 2020, Qudini ran a consumer survey to 2,000 American 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 wait lines, schedule them in for appointments, manage occupancy levels in store and answer general questions that aid in the customer journey.

Read: The problem with wait lines and how it is costing retailers during Covid-19

Before Covid-19, 47% of consumers admitted to regularly avoiding entering stores or walking out of stores without buying anything because of wait lines: 10% said they did so “often” and 33% said “sometimes”. Millennial and GenZ customers and higher household income groups were most likely to do so.

Overall, 20% of consumers stated they are not prepared to more than 3 minutes within stores, 17% would only wait between 4 and 7 minutes and another 16% will only wait between 8 and 10 minutes.

Not only are retailers losing immediate sales revenues if they have waits for service but they are also losing long-term sales and customer loyalty, because 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). Higher household income groups were most likely to agree.

Our October 2020 survey showed that even when stores have been open, a large proportion of customers (64%) have been avoiding stores where possible, with Millennials, women and those from higher income household groups being the most likely to avoid stores. The main reasons for avoiding stores are health concerns and increased online shopping behaviors for 69% and 41% of customers respectively.


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:

! These results demonstrate that retailers with long waiting experience could obtain a significant return on investment through using customer hosts to manage customers.

Find out more about our meeter greeter host app.

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.

The most appealing benefits of a virtual line system to consumers were the ability to the reduce risk of contracting Covid-19, followed by saving time and avoiding poor weather conditions. Younger generations are more concerned with using their time productively and fair process while older generations are more concerned with staying informed and updated as well as avoiding poor weather conditions.

Overall, our survey insights found that while wait lines are costing retailers significant revenue opportunity, virtual wait line systems serve as a powerful antidote that can even enable retailers to turn a typically negative experience into something that increases sales both online and offline, while driving strong customer relationships in the process.

Download the full survey report here


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