Why Virtual Queuing May Be Brick-and-Mortar’s Best Defense
Crowded parking lots at malls, big box retailers, and downtown shopping areas prove that consumers still appreciate the in-person shopping experience. A 2017 TimeTrade State of Retail Survey shed light on the reasons. The survey found that most consumers (72%) would prefer to shop in stores because they like to touch and feel products before they make a purchase decision. More than one third (43%) of the survey’s respondents said they like to take advantage of in-store promotions and sales, and 29% appreciate getting advice from store associates on what products they should purchase.
Even with these benefits, it’s no secret that e-tailers take sales away from brick-and-mortar. One of the biggest negatives of brick-and-mortar shopping in the minds of consumers is the waiting lines. Waiting for assistance, waiting for a fitting room, waiting to checkout. Shoppers just really hate to wait.
Let’s explore how virtual queuing can help you combat this negative to help shield retail from the threat of e-tail.
THE DAUNTING WAITING LINE DISAPPEARS
A more pleasant waiting environment is created when the physical waiting line is removed from the checkout process. With virtual queuing, customers can register for a service (including checkout) while they are still shopping. Customers don’t have to arrive at the service point or checkout area until the cashier or associate is ready to serve them.
THE CUSTOMER’S TIME IS RESPECTED
Customers buy online because it’s convenient. They can use their time spent driving to the store doing something else like working or cleaning the house. But what happens when the item shipped isn’t what they expected? Effort must be exerted to return the item, whether shipping it back or taking it to a physical location, and the time they thought they saved is canceled out.
If customers had visited the brick-and-mortar location in the first place, they could have touched, seen, or tried on the items before making the purchase. Plus, they could have taken their items home the same day. So, why do customers fear the waiting line so much when the physical store has so many benefits? Because they feel like they are wasting time. Using a virtual queuing squashes this ideal because not only do customers feel like the wait is shorter, it is. Their time is directed towards doing the things they want or need to be doing, not waiting.
THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE IS ENHANCED
Customers enjoy their shopping and waiting experience in a virtual queue mainly because of one simple factor: it reduces perceived wait times. When a customer is forced to stand in line it seems all he or she can focus on is the line ahead, making the wait feel longer than it really is. But when given the freedom to spend time as they please, these perceptions of how long customers are kept waiting actually decrease.
Simply stated, the virtual queue encourages people to stop watching the clock and relax.
BUSINESS-TO-CUSTOMER COMMUNICATION INCREASES
As customers register for their place in the virtual queue, you open the doors to increased communication. From displaying estimated wait times to keeping in contact during the waiting process, via text message or mobile app, virtual queuing systems can help you deliver a more personalized and effective customer experience.
IMPULSE SALES CAN BE MAXIMIZED
As customers are free to continue shopping as they wait, impulse sales can build during the waiting process. Additionally, the enhanced customer experience that is created makes for happier and more loyal customers that will return to your store again and again.
Protecting your brick-and-mortar sales against e-commerce isn’t easy. But virtual queuing can be part of your defense. Have you explored the many ways virtual queuing can be used to improve your waiting lines and the overall customer experience?