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Why Retailers Should Put Customer Hosts at the Front of Their Stores

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.

Chart showing how often customers would avoid entering stores if there was a wait to speak to staff Chart showing how often customers would avoid entering stores if there was a wait to speak to staff by generation Chart showing how often customers would avoid entering stores if there was a wait to speak to staff by household income

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.

Red chart showing how long customers are prepared to wait in line for service

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.

Chart showing how many customers agree that long waiting times make them less likely to return to retails based on income

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:

Chart showing how customer hosts impact consumer decisions

! 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.

Chart showing how many customers agree that long waiting times make them less likely to return to retails based on income by household income

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.

Consumer states benefits of virtual wait lines by generation on a blue and red bar chart
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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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).