4 Ways Virtual Queues are Taking Hold in Retail
If our experience in recent years is any indication, getting rid of retail queues—or at least minimizing their negative impact on the in-store customer journey—is something retailers are focused on. And they’re realizing the power of technology to help them in this endeavor.
Virtual queue systems are capturing a lot of attention. A wide range of retail businesses are discovering the many ways virtual queuing can improve their wait times and the shopper experience.
Why use virtual queuing in retail?
Virtual queuing disperses waiting crowds and eliminates the need for a physical queue, instead placing each customer in a virtual waiting line and calling them for customer service when their turn is up.
In retail, virtual queue management can be used in many areas to minimize wait times, boost impulse sales, improve service efficiency, and keep shoppers happy with their in-store experience. Here are four ways virtual queue systems are taking hold.
1. Elegantly Handling the Luxury Shopping Experience
Have you ever found the perfect store associate who just “gets it”—the one who knows your style, your likes, and your dislikes, and whom you trust to help you make the right purchase? For some shoppers, these chosen associates become the only ones they’ll ask for when they are ready to make a purchase. Retailers can facilitate the relationship between shoppers and associates with a virtual queuing program that allows for
prescheduled appointments. Customers can schedule their shopping trip for the exact day and time that their associate is working and ensure they get the personal attention they seek. Luxury retailers, in particular, are looking at virtual queuing as a powerful way to increase sales and customer satisfaction.
2. Facilitating In-Store Pickups
The growth in buy online, pick up in store (known as BOPUS or BOPIS) is leading retailers to rethink their queuing strategy when it comes to taking care of customers who arrive to pick up the orders they placed online. Neglecting to manage these waiting lines can quickly create the inconvenience shoppers were hoping to avoid in the first place.
Shoppers like the store pickup option because it allows them to bypass the register and go straight to pick up their items without waiting for or having to pay extra for shipping. Retailers also benefit from the added foot traffic because they have an opportunity to give customers an in-person experience and impulse-buying opportunities that can solidify customer satisfaction and boost sales.
In fact, when shoppers come to the store to pick up items ordered online, 37 percent make additional purchases that they were not planning on, according to new research from OrderDynamics.
Mobile queuing systems can improve the in-store pickup experience by giving customers the opportunity to avoid the line when they arrive at the store to claim their goods.
3. Turning Returns into Gains
No retailer likes to witness customers returning or exchanging merchandise, but smart retailers see an opportunity to turn these interactions into new and future purchases.
In fact, research from Medallia found that a great product return experience actually encourages customers to spend more money at the store, while recent research found that 73 percent of customers would not return to a company with a difficult returns process.
Virtual queuing is a great tool to avoid long lines and facilitate returns and exchanges, freeing customers to preschedule their return or shop around while they wait for their turn to be served.
4. Improving Service Efficiency
Probably the most unsung yet powerful benefit of virtual queuing relates to its ability to empower store associates. Virtual queuing allows retailers to capture information about customers when they add themselves to the waiting line. With this info, store associates can better anticipate the needs of each customer and match them with qualified team members to handle everything from returns and exchanges to repairs and more.
Virtual queuing can also allow businesses to batch process customer requests instead of dealing with customers one at a time, creating extreme efficiencies. For example, an associate can retrieve multiple customer packages at once for in-store pickup. When it comes to virtual queuing, service efficiency = ROI, and this is a very powerful motivator for retailers today.
As retailers look to improve the in-store experience and meet the increasingly stringent demands of shoppers, virtual queues are worth considering. From personalized shopping to easier returns and exchanges, waiting can be better when it is virtual.