8 Timely Tips for Managing Heavy Foot Traffic

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When heavy foot traffic is on your list of concerns, you need strategies you can count on to keep customers flowing through your venue, lines manageable in length, and safety high. Crowd control is the name of the game and we’ve got some proven tips to help you:

1.    Keep entrances and exits clear.

Smooth customer flow begins and ends with clearly marked entry and exit pathways. This is true for the threshold entry to a venue and also includes the various entry and exit points to any queue, corridor, or service area inside. Having clear and easy access into a location and out once a transaction is completed makes shopping or movability less challenging and more pleasurable. Also making sure the entry is clearly marked (and even enticing) can be a way to touch the buying impulse and bring in customers who weren’t necessary planning to stop.

2.    Plan predictable pathways.

Clear pathways that disperse and direct people rather than gather them will support both flow and sales. Create clearly marked pathways from entrance to exit, even starting outside. This clarity via wayfinding signage, structures like belts and stanchions, and well designed merchandise areas will help avoid confusion and keep the focus on shopping, dining, or travels. Signage lets customers know exactly where to stand and where to go at every stage of their experience. Extra-long belted stanchions and transporters can help manage flow with flexibility. Also use signage to mark special areas, promotions and ways to make the pathway to shop, purchase, and check in or out super smooth.

3.    Acknowledge wait time.

A simple acknowledgment of the wait itself by employees or via digital displays can keep waiting customers happy – and keep them in line. It’s no fun to hear that five minutes of waiting (or fifteen) remain, but people are more willing to put in the time when they have a realistic sense of the wait time.

4.    Anticipate and act fast.

With today’s queue management technology, managers can use real-time analytics to anticipate traffic flow and immediately deploy staff when wait times approach unacceptable limits. This information also allows managers to adjust queue set-up as needed to keep people moving.

5.    Engage and entertain.

Digital signage and interesting merchandise can distract and engage customers during their wait, reducing perceived wait time and potentially generating sales. Take advantage of your captive audience by stationing digital signage anywhere you know customers must wait.

6.    Queue with clarity.

Letting customers clearly know when to move from one place to another helps them stay relaxed, and possibly even continue shopping if there is merchandise in the queue or if their position is held in a virtual queue. Call-forward queuing also has the added benefit of keeping staff productive and minimizing downtime.

7.    Be ready to organize overflow.

A sudden influx of people at one time is an inevitable situation during peak times. When a sudden increase in customers causes lines to back up, the resulting congestion can limit access to other areas as well as cause safety concerns. Keeping traffic organized not only keeps the flow moving but also provides a better customer experience and can even impress customers and leave them feeling respected and impressed.

8.    Consider going virtual.

Consider integrating a virtual queue system where customers register for service, wait wherever and however they’d like, and then arrive when the business is ready to serve them. There is no better way to respect and serve your customers than leaving control of their time in their own hands.

Smart crowd control is well worth the effort. Companies with a high customer service rating are up to 12 times more profitable than their competitors[1]. And, according to Bain and Co., a 5 percent increase in customer retention can increase profitability by 75 percent. Transform heavy traffic into an abundance of opportunity.

Plan safe and smooth traffic flow this season by incorporating the right mix of heavy foot traffic solutions and keep your customers moving and happy.

[1] PIMS Strategic Planning Institute


6 Signs of Effective Queue Signage

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In designing an intelligent and effective queue system, signage plays a key role. Whether digital or fixed, signage not only informs customers, but it also directs, engages, invites, and compels customers to move or act. Effective signage can make the difference between a relaxed customer enjoying the shopping experience or a confused, stressed out customer who leaves disturbed or even abandons a purchase. Below are the fundamental ‘signs’ that your signage is up to par:

1.   Proper Placement

To be effective, signs need to appear at a height and location that will serve customers when and where they are ready for information. Demographics and analytics can help to determine the footfall patterns and timing of shopper trends. Furthermore, what goes on the signage is similar – information needs to pair with business goals for a particular avatar/customer. Convenient surveys, A/B testing and/or analytics can verify assumptions to maximize success with specific communication goals.

2.   High Quality

It’s worth the investment to impress customers with quality equipment and content. Signage and messaging that are good looking, well written, engaging, and relevant can capture and hold attention and will create a positive experience and enhance brand core values. Alternatively, low quality signage or content can leave a customer thinking that’s what they can expect from the products and services as well. Don’t make the costly mistake of going cheap. Quality signs are the mark of a quality company.

3.   Fresh Content

As fast as current events and trends are changing, so too does your content need to change – both what is on the signs and where they are. If return customers see the same displays or signage time and again they can expect that your offerings are also old news. Change those signs frequently for interest, and also to let your customers know they don’t know what to expect – except to keep expecting more.

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More than an Annoyance: Are Long Lines a Threat to Security?

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The recent bombings in Brussels have brought more than a little attention to airport security issues not related to physically boarding and occupying an airline, rather in the terminals themselves. According to a recent Washington Examiner article by Sean Higgins, anti-terrorism experts are declaring that “the crowds of waiting passengers caused by the need to check for weapons and bombs inadvertently creates its own terrorism target.”

The article suggests that terrorists are looking for mass casualty targets. If they can’t get on the plane, they seek out another approach, experts say. Airport terminals become a likely target. In fact, according to reports it appears the terrorists in Brussels showed no indication of boarding a plane at all. Their target was the terminal’s main area. “Public spaces seem to be their killing fields now,” according to Bill Jenkins, a terrorism policy expert with the Rand Corporation.

The question is why?Continue Reading