in queue merchandising    

It’s Not (Just) the Length of the Queue that Matters

queue management

We all know that waiting in a long line can be the necessary evil in our lives. We also know that the sight of a long line can be enough to send us in the opposite direction. That said, as queue managers, if we’re solely focused on ridding our businesses of long lines, we’re missing a few other very important parts of the equation.

Let’s not forget that, aside from the physical length of the queue, there are other key indicators of success. In particular:

How long people are kept waiting.

A single long line can move people along much faster than several shorter queues. A queue equipped with call-forward electronic queuing can also make a line more efficient. There are lots of ways to make the line move faster and even look like it’s moving quickly as people arrive on the scene and decide to stay or go.

How long people FEEL like they’ve been kept waiting.

Keeping people occupied and entertained in the queue is better than fueling their frustration as they watch the minutes tick by. There are things you can do to make the wait feel less than it really is, like incorporating digital media into your queue or in-line merchandising.Continue Reading

Why Patience is a Virtue, but Waiting is Intolerable


We’re taught to be patient. From a young age, we are harped on to wait patiently and to be patient with others. Meanwhile, as we grow into busy adults, our lifestyles require super-efficiency in everything that we do, from the workplace to our home life. Instant gratification is expected and easy to come by, leaving many to believe waiting is something we should never have to face.

As a retailer, grocer, or service provider, how do you help your customers get past the negative side of waiting and bring out the patience we were all taught to exude? It really is possible to make the wait more tolerable with these simple suggestions:

1. Explain why the wait is happening

What is causing your extra-long waiting line today? Unforeseen circumstances? A seasonal sale? An unexpected shortage of staff?

Let your customers know why they have to spend time waiting. If they understand that there was a glitch in the POS system or an overwhelmingly large response to your latest product release, they will be more tolerant of the wait. They may not be thrilled, but at least more willing to accept the situation.

2. Explain what your business is doing to alleviate the wait

Are you opening additional registers? Increasing customer service personnel? Sending agents out into the line to get transactions started sooner?

Let your customers see that you are proactively trying to get them through your waiting line as quickly as possible. Your actions clearly demonstrate your customers’ time is important and that you appreciate them spending it with your business.Continue Reading

How to Keep Crowds De-Stressed

Large crowd of people

Stadiums, arenas, airports, and even popular retail environments naturally attract crowds. And while a certain level of stress associated with these crowded experiences is normal, the negative feelings associated with crowded waiting lines, crowded hallways, crowded everything—can quickly take over. According to the FBI, crowd control is important due to the dangers posed by unruly gatherings.

Keeping the stress level down is one way to keep unruly-ness at bay.

As a crowd control specialist or queue manager, here are 4 ways you can help keep your customers or event attendees calm, cool, and collected:

1. Make the venue easy to navigate

People flocking to a crowded venue are generally excited to get through the doors and get into the experience at hand. Make this an orderly and intuitive process that keeps the enthusiasm rolling smoothly

Try clear, concise wayfinding signage that points your attendees in the right direction. And make sure the entryways and paths to designated locations are well-defined with proper barriers and clear of any obstructions.

When implemented correctly signage can achieve the following goals:

  • Promote safety

  • Discourage hesitations that cause bottlenecks

  • Keep attendee flow constant

  • Provide attendees peace of mind that they know where they are going

2. Don’t neglect the “inside” queues

The most obvious waiting line at a crowded venue are the ones required to get in and check out. But don’t forget about those restroom and snack breaks, particularly at a large entertainment venue.

Create pain-free queues at these places of service by clearly marking waiting line entrances and exits and providing easy to follow queue configurations. Retractable belt stanchions are the quick and reliable way to form a waiting line for these essential services.

3. Rely on single line, multiple service queue layouts

Multiple-line queues can create a sense of unfairness in the waiting line. It only takes one slow transaction to hold up an entire line making people feel that they chose the wrong line or were otherwise “slighted.”

A single line, multiple service queue actually results in faster waiting times and a guaranteed first-come first-served approach. Your customers and attendees will feel better because they will no longer be jockeying for a position in the “best” line or getting frustrated when choosing the “wrong” line. You will also be promoting optimal operational efficiency via maximum customer throughput and a reduction in actual wait times. It’s a streamlined approach that can calm crowds of people.

Single wait lines can be used at ticket windows, will call, venue entrances, restrooms, concession stands, or anywhere a line will form.

4. Make leaving as easy as entering

So much focus is placed on the “getting in” part of a crowded experience that we sometimes neglect to put the same attention on the process of getting out. Either when the event is over, or as people are trying to leave intermittently in the face of arriving crowds, the exit process deserves attention.

Once again, signage and easy-to-deploy barriers can help crowd control managers quickly form an orderly exit.

If you’re lucky enough to have the problem of attracting large crowds, it’s important to plan ahead for keeping those crowds de-stressed. These tips, along with a host of other crowd control best practices, will give you a great chance of producing a positive crowd-filled experience.