News Feature | January 6, 2015

Tips To Avoid Losing Customers To Long Lines

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies
Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

A recent Box Technologies and Intel report has examined the question of ‘How Long Does It Take To Lose Your Customer,’ highlighting the importance of shortening wait times and offering ways to utilize technology to make checkout smoother and improve the customer experience.

The British study found that 41 percent of shoppers have abandoned a purchase due to long wait times in checkout lines, and 86 percent avoid stores where they perceive the lines to be too long.  Seventy-four percent reported that they would shop at a competitor instead.  The research suggests that new strategies are needed to improve the overall customer experience by shortening wait times at the registers.

According to the study, the average Brit says that 9 minutes is too long to wait in line, and lines more than 7 people deep will make them abandon their purchases and shop elsewhere. Almost a quarter of shoppers reported that they will wait less than five minutes in line to make a purchase. 

And it’s not just about the length of the line: speed matters, too.  Three-quarters of British shoppers surveyed said that stores need to do a better job of addressing wait times during busy shopping periods. And the study found that supermarkets were the worst offenders, followed by fashion outlets and DIY stores, despite technology just as self-service registers and fast track self-scanning devices.

The frustration of long, slow checkout lines can also have an impact on brand loyalty, with 74 percent saying they would defect to a competitor’s store for shorter, faster wait times, and 70 percent said they would be less likely to return to a store where they had experienced lengthy checkout wait times.

The report explains that retailers must find ways to improve the overall shopping experience, stating, “In today’s consumer-centric retail environment, retailers must step out from behind the traditional till and create an in-store journey with shoppers at the center of each encounter.”

“Customer service is an essential part of the shopping experience,” Rod O’Shea, EMEA Regional Director of Embedded Sales at Intel, said in the release. “We believe technology can help enrich that experience in the ever changing retail landscape. Mobile POS devices are a great way to queue bust and will fit the savvy customer’s evolving expectations in store.”

This means adopting and adapting new technology to ease the process, including mobile Point of Sale (mPOS) to enhance customer interactions and increase conversations.  It also means offering flexibility in payments, and improving customer service. 

Raj Parmar, Head of Mobile Solutions at Box Technologies, explained in the release that:  “Today’s shopper increasingly expects service to be instantaneous and, as a predominant cause of abandoned purchases, retailers can’t afford to ignore the cost – both to revenues and the impact on brand loyalty – of lengthy queues in-store.  Armed with mobile POS devices, store staff is empowered to speed up the process, by taking the full functionality of a till to where the customer wants to shop and pay.”