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.
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:
- 47% would be more likely to wait in the line – 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.
- 51% 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.
- 51% would think better of the retailer and 51% would feel safer and happier in the current environment – demonstrating that using hosts would help to improve customer relationships and brand relevance.
- 48% would be more likely to tell their friends about the retailer – indicating that advocacy and NPS scores will be improved with retailers using hosts.
- 44% would be more likely to buy something in-store, while 46% 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.
- 56% 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 waiting experience.
! These results demonstrate that retailers with long waiting experience could obtain a significant return on investment through using customer hosts to manage customers.
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.