Looking to get out of the red this holiday season? Curbside and queuing might help.
Acting as the start line for the holiday season sprint, Black Friday is a pivotal moment for many retailers who look to maintain high-profits and end with year-over-year growth. This Black Friday will be different however since 53% of this season’s shoppers said they’ll choose to shop at stores that offer contactless shopping for in-person shopping. Add in that 71% of shoppers said they’ll plan to do most of their holiday shopping online this year, and you can see why creating strong omnichannel experiences is vital for brands hitting goals this year.
As our way of life continues to adapt, mounting consumer pains have driven consumers to make adjustments to their shopping strategies. Hope is not lost, however, since the two newest click & collect methods, curbside and queuing, yield for a prime opportunity this season.
Pain #1: Don’t Make Me Wait
Consumers don’t have a lot of spare time, regardless of many companies shifting to remote-first work for the foreseeable future. With the spare time they have, they don’t like to wait. Anything beyond a five or ten-minute wait in line can cause discomfort for the consumer, and discomfort isn’t good for business. Since consumers have limited spare time, if a line is too long they may just leave or will spend less, as they will rush through the store. This wait time can eat into the consumer’s likelihood to add impulse buys to their cart, with the average consumer spending $5,400 in 2018 on impulse purchases. This is a significant chunk of incremental revenue for many retailers that should not be missed.
Overcome: Add Virtual Queues & Curbside
Queues are a fundamental building block of many in-store strategies now, but as we creep into this holiday season, the wait times can extend beyond ideal limits. Adding a queue management system can keep the mood up so consumers are happier when they enter your store and get a better experience that allows them to feel catered to.
Curbside gives the consumer a chance to “grab something” quickly without stopping in-store, allowing them to rest in their car, or multitask, while they wait for their goods. For consumers with dependents such as children or pets, this can alleviate a major hassle for them and increase their likelihood of ordering through you again.
Overcome: Capitalize on Queuing & Curbside for Impulse Buys
Since retailers are unable to determine whether a shopper is preoccupied during their time in the virtual queue or curbside line, use this as an opportunity to enhance the consumer experience by adding “browse while you wait” or virtual store pages to engage the shopper. This can increase consumer excitement when entering the store for virtual queuing or create the next purchase for curbside, allowing retailers to not only engage, but increase the value of these shoppers for their business.
Pain #2: Great Expectations – Retail Innovation isn’t Keeping Up
While many outlets have publicized that consumers are forgiving of makeshift solutions and lags experienced with them, this sentiment seems to have passed its peak. Consumers are now questioning the speed of innovation that brands are now performing at, with 88% of consumers expecting companies to accelerate their digital innovation. The request for digital innovation doesn’t end at adding foundational items such as personalization, with 69% of consumers wanting new ways to buy the same products and services they already use.
These expectations don’t end with innovation, however, with 80% of consumers expecting better customer service during COVID. This is a battle cry from consumers, begging retailers to diversify and optimize the way they do business. And while some are at the forefront of this, those that ignore this call risk the red.
Overcome: Optimize Virtual Queues & Curbside
Many retailers have launched curbside pickup solutions for their organization, but retailers have a 4x likelihood of a consumer purchasing from them again if they wait two or fewer minutes. Monitor and optimize performance by making sure the staging processes are fully set up. Keep phone lines clear by utilizing SMS and encourage customers to let you know when they are on their way.
Since many factors draw out lines in-store, such as needing to sanitize individual dressing rooms and checkout stations, these waits can ultimately come back to hurt the queue on the outside. You can increase your hourly shopper turnover by letting shoppers queue in for dressing rooms and checkout. This gives them extra time to browse for impulse buys and speeds up the waiting periods that happen in-store to keep your line outside moving quicker.
Overcome: Over Communicate
Understanding consumers’ busy schedules, it’s obvious why they want to know how long they will be waiting. It has been proven that a major increase in pain during waiting is not knowing how long they will have to wait. This can cause “line abandonment”, even where they have already waited for a considerable amount of time. Mitigate this by providing status updates on their placement in the line, updating it frequently. Additionally, to minimize inflated wait times, give consumers the option to “leave the virtual line” to show accurate wait times.
Extend this communication beyond just status updates, letting consumers know what they will need when they enter the store for the virtual queue or letting them know if there are any delays in bringing the order to them for curbside. Allow the consumer to communicate back with the store so they don’t feel like they are ignored, which can reduce the likelihood of creating a bad experience.
While no singular effort will drive retailers out of the red this season, this holiday season offers a unique opportunity for retailers to stand out to seasonal shoppers. Retailers can use curbside and queuing to drive these visitors to not only purchase with them this holiday season, but also create seamless experiences that drive them back throughout 2021.