5 Ways to Better In-Store Experience That Increase Sales and Traffic

Everyone knows the feeling of being at a supermarket checkout or waiting to purchase a snazzy new shirt at a department store, but no one enjoys the queues that come with these experiences.

We've covered the importance of proper queuing systems for retail stores in our article on ‘Queue Management Systems for Retail Stores’. Yet, there are also other ways that the queuing experience can be improved upon. It could, for example, even be made fun to improve customer experience. Below are just a few ways retail stores can do just that.

But why queue bust? 💸

Before we start, you should know why it’s worth the effort to queue bust. According to reviews of the waitlist apps, companies that cut down on waiting time see an increase in customer loyalty and revenue. It should even be noted that many of the best customer service solutions often tap into the psychology of the market by getting to the root of what customers really want, like making waiting more efficient. In line with this, Maryville University outlines how marketing professionals are not only trained in market research but also analytical thinking and psychology. Their wide range of expertise – combined with focused market knowledge – is what allows trained marketers to tap into consumer needs. With this in mind, the act of queue busting in itself demonstrates that a business understands how to make their customers happy – something that customers will happily reward.

1. Ensure customers are engaged 💘

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The first thing you can do to queue bust is to make sure customer’s minds are busy while they wait. Have you ever noticed that when you’re occupied, time seems to go by faster than unoccupied time? Retailers can take advantage of this phenomenon by increasing the stimuli that surrounds a queue so that customers will have other things to concentrate on, other than the queue.

For example, newspapers, mirrors, television, and even other products can all help take the consumer’s mind off the fact that they’re waiting. Even something as simple as offering them free Wi-Fi can go a long way to countering boredom and frustration. By keeping your customers entertained, they are less likely to get frustrated about having to wait in a queue. Plus, if you put products near the queue it can help in encouraging impulse buys.

2. Be transparent about the wait 🍀

According to Well and Good’s article on why queues cause people to become impatient, one of the biggest reasons is because they feel like they are wasting their time. To combat this, be transparent about how long they will have to wait. This is important because when consumers don’t know how long they are going to be waiting, they often become anxious about whether the wait will actually be worth it.

That’s exactly what makes a waitlist app like Waitwhile so effective – customers will know what transactions are ahead of them and how long it will be before they’re served, reducing fears that they won’t be attended to promptly. Waitwhile can even track customer data, giving the consumer insights like when queues are the longest or the average waiting time that’ll make it easier to queue bust in the future.

3. Make the wait fair 🙌

Of course, being transparent about waiting time won’t amount to anything if customers feel they aren’t all getting treated equally. Someone getting perceived special treatment like getting to cut in line will make customers feel that their time isn’t valued. Even one line moving faster than the other can lead to feelings of resentment and regret among customers who feel they should’ve chosen the other line instead.

To combat this, it’s suggested that retailers use single line queues instead of multiple queues when possible. Alternatively, stores could also set up express check-out counters for customers who have less than 5 or 10 items. Generally customers who have a lot of items understand that they could be facing a longer wait, so by implementing express lanes it helps turnaround small purchases much quicker.

4. Invest in your store’s atmosphere 🎪

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Of course, it’s much more pleasant to wait in an environment with the right temperature, aesthetically pleasing décor, etc. This is especially true in the case with retail fitting rooms, where some customers even go as far as completely discarding items or buying two sizes of the same piece of clothing and later returning whichever doesn’t fit, simply to avoid queuing. With that in mind, offering a pleasing store atmosphere can convince customers that the wait is worth it, preventing any potential loss of revenue that results from customers becoming frustrated. Fortunately, this can be done through small, simple steps such as stocking fitting rooms with sample perfume and hiring caring staff who direct customers to available counters and offer free samples, among other things.

As for a store’s décor, improving it doesn’t necessarily have to cost a fortune. For instance, avoiding industrial features like fluorescent light bulbs and drab grey tones in favor of more natural lighting and greenery can contribute to a more peaceful environment.

5. Be prepared to offer an apology 🙏

Business.com’s guide on improving the waiting experience cites that when it comes to communicating with your customers, sometimes apologizing for the wait is enough to show you care. They cite a Software Advice survey that found that 70% of customers immediately become less frustrated when given a simple “I’m sorry” for the wait time. Likewise, you could even thank them for waiting- -with customers, sometimes a little goes a long way.

Article exclusively written by F. Lange for blog.waitwhile.com