Boo! Top 10 Scariest Queue Management Mistakes

This busy season, make sure you’re not making any of these frightening mis-steps in your queue management system. Any of these mistakes could be enough to scare your customers away.

1. Failing to Keep Customers Occupied While They Wait

Do not expect customers to endure a long wait without any engagement. Field studies show that customers who wait in line without communication or engagement experience longer perceived wait time and are more likely to abandon the line. Digital signage and interesting merchandise can distract and engage customers during their wait, reducing perceived wait time and potentially even generating impulse sales.

2. Merchandising That is Too Much, Too High

Piling it high might sound like a good in-queue merchandising strategy but no customer wants to feel like they’re “stuck in line.” Check your queue for gondolas that are simply too tall for your patrons. The last thing you want is for your customers to feel like they are in a tunnel or worse yet, a trap.

3. Leaving Wait Time to Chance

There’s no need anymore to have long lines linger or for peak times to take managers by surprise.  Today’s queue management technology allows managers to use real-time analytics to monitor when wait times approach unacceptable limits. Set wait time goals and use today’s tech tools to help you meet or even exceed them and keep customers happy too.

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Impulse Buys at Checkout Time Increase More than Bottom Line

Did you know: 65% of retail sales are impulse purchases? While not all of those impulse buys occur at checkout, the queue does represent an undeniable opportunity to use merchandising to boost impulse sales. And more. It’s much more than that. Beyond sales, these in-line, last-minute purchases enhance the customer experience and cultivate happier customers.

Below are some considerations worth factoring in as you build or refine your queue system, including ways to influence the impulse.

Customer Delight

When a customer waits in a queue, their experience matters. The more you are able to engage your customer in a positive, even pleasurable experience, the shorter the perceived wait time can be. You can create an enjoyable sensory experience with visuals (think colors and textures), sounds, and even scents that will disrupt the moment and generate interest and distraction.1 68% of customers who leave a queue do so because they feel you don’t care.2 Cultivating a positive experience promotes the feeling of being cared about and can deepen customer loyalty.  If shoppers choose one or more additional items to purchase while in the queue, those pleasurable feelings will be reinforced with positive associations each time they see or use those products.1  Place products with delight in mind.

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How to Make “Checking Out” a Great Time to “Check It Out”

We’ve written a lot on this blog about the role of in-queue merchandising and how it can turn the dreaded waiting line into a more enjoyable and profitable one. This win-win is possible when you give customers something to check out while they’re checking out!

Customers can come to anticipate and enjoy waiting in line as a time to discover new products for which they weren’t even shopping. And considering 65% of retail sales are driven by impulse shopping, your queue can become a robust profit center with merchandising in place.

Once the basic structure of your line is organized for maximum efficiency and productivity, you can focus your attention on delighting customers with compelling products, information, and entertainment – in essence, designing their queue shopping experience. Keeping customers occupied through shopping while they wait gives you a chance to direct their attention to new products, sale items, complementary products or other items that you want to promote. It’s also a great time to reinforce your brand. Make sure customers witness the quality of your products and customer service all the way through the line, because while they shop they are also checking you out.

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