in queue merchandising    

Applying Successful Retail Concepts to Your Queue

in-line merchandise

David Aaker, Professor Emeritus of Marketing Strategy at the Haas School of Business and author of Brand Relevance: Making Competitors Irrelevant, wrote a nice piece for recently where he outlined eight characteristics of successful retail concepts. Aaker looked at common characteristics shared among brands like L.L. Bean, REI, IKEA, Apple, Whole Foods, and other distinctive retailers.

We looked at the resulting eight guidelines and how they might apply to an important piece of retail business: the queue.

Knowing that the queue (waiting line) is a place where business is won and lost, and where lasting impressions are formed, we think it makes good sense to look at your queue as a business-within-your-business and formulate a smart strategy.

So, let’s look at how Aaker’s findings might apply to your queue:

1. Have a clear vision

Successful retailers have a clear vision of who they are, who they serve, and how their brand connects with customers. Who are your customers? Are they wealthy urbanites, frugal stay-at-home moms, GenYers, outdoor enthusiasts? What’s important to them when it comes to the queuing experience? Do they just want to get in and out as if they’re in a convenience store or is waiting part of the experience as if they’re buying cronuts?Continue Reading

Why Some People “Love” to Stand in Line

Waiting in Line

There is a famous line at Tokyo Disneyland that couples flock to wait in. The store outside of Frontierland sells inexpensive leather bracelets that can be embossed or painted with a person’s name. Park guests get in line for this less-than-$10 item and happily wait their turn (for a long time).

Disney’s former VP of research thought that if an item were in such high demand, it would be better to make the bracelets available in more locations throughout Disneyland, in order to cut down the wait time. He was wrong. The waiting line was part of what made the item so valuable. Why? The answer may lie in the theory of self-signaling, which was highlighted in a recent Fast Company article “The Wisdom of the Cronut: Why Long Lines Are Worth the Wait.”Continue Reading

3 Tips to Improve the Grocery Store Check-Out Experience


A recent PricewaterhouseCoopers study on grocery stores – “Front of the Line: How Grocers Can Get Ahead for the Future” – suggests, along with personalizing marketing strategies, improving loyalty programs, and transforming technology, that retailers can enable change and improve what they offer customers by tailoring their brick-and-mortar stores to bring products closer to customers. This means locating stores closer in proximity to where your customers live and work, but also making stores easier to navigate for a “quick in-and-out.” One of the recommendations fitting within this idea is to facilitate a smooth checkout process.

We have all experienced the grocery store checkout – sometimes it’s painless, sometimes it’s quite the opposite. Certain types of checkout options can hit a nerve with customers – congested stores and long checkout lines are top frustrations for shoppers, as PwC discovered – and this can impact customer loyalty.

Here are some of our top tips to improve grocery store queuing to, in turn, create a smoother checkout process overall:

1. Consider a single-line queue

Flying in the face of traditional grocery store queuing and the commonly held belief that multiple lines are faster than a single line, there is something to be said for a single line queue that leads to multiple checkout stations. It is actually faster and fairer than multiple separate checkout lines for individual cashiers.

Customers may have a hard time seeing the benefits if they’re standing in what looks like one long serpentine line, especially if they’re only going to the grocery store for a few items (in which case a separate “express” queue is still warranted). But, believe it or not, a single-line queue will improve service efficiency, shorten actual wait times, and lead to greater customer satisfaction. It’s just that initial hurdle that will take some convincing.

Watch our video for a clever explanation: Reading