Making the most of waiting time

It is hard enough to get shoppers into stores these days, but no buyer wants to delay their time getting out either. Many retailers are seeking ways to speed checkout lines as a means to improve customer services, fuelling the growth of queue mgmt in a re


Many supermarkets are committed to reducing checkout time, some even bonuses and rewards on manager's effort to keep thing moving. With retailers looking for ways other than price to differ themselves from the competition, the battleground could be at the check outs.

The competitiveness of the retail environment is at the core of a wave of new thinking when it comes to managing the last stage of the retail purchasing process, the checkout queue. In fact, the aggressive quest by retailers to increase operational efficiencies and squeeze additional revenues from existing properties has emphasized the importance of the discipline for completing consumer transactions. Queue management is helping the retailers in increasing customer loyalty, improving customer acquisition and strengthening their bottom lines. While still a fairly new concept, queue management is rapidly gaining acceptance as an essential element of best practices in the retail industry.

The view of queue management focuses directly on these challenges and serves as a highly effective strategic tool for increasing revenues per square foot, greatly reducing customer walkways, stimulating impulse sales and enhancing the shopping experience. Effective management of the checkout process and strong attention to the queue is positively reflected in a retailer's bottom line. The industry's most successful retailers already realize the value in improving the queue experience, in both customer satisfaction and revenue. Those who understand that queuing should no longer be an afterthought and those utilize sources with expertise in the mathematics and psychology of queuing are reaping the rewards of increased sales and satisfaction.

Techniques Implemented

Such has been the effect of queue management in a retail set-up; people are seriously assessing various ways in which they can keep the consumer interested even when he is done with his buying. One is lane-per-lane, the typical grocery store set-up. Another option is dispersed or virtual queuing, commonly found in delis and bakeries where customers take a number and are called to order. Finally, there's single-point queuing, like the ones you encounter at the airport. Customers are assembled into a single line and move to the next available service representative when they reach the front. For any size group, single-line queuing is fair and efficient. While the queuing area can be smaller than the other methods, typically it's easy to extend the lines to accommodate larger groups with the use of simple retracting belt systems.


The retailer better understands customer behavior during time spent in the queue, by evaluating various property nuances while implementing a queue management system. This dwell time gives customers the time to pause in front of merchandising displays, making the queue the best impulse-buy location in the store. With merchandising fixtures and a planogram specifically designed for the queue environment, retailers typically experience sales increases of nearly 400 percent.

In today’s retail environment, it is becoming increasingly important that organizations and their customers change the way in which they view the waiting queue.

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