Retail Queuing and Its Effect on Perceived Wait Times

Retail Queuing and Its Effect on Perceived Wait Times

There might be nothing more frustrating than waiting. Lines can seem endless, and all you can think about is how much time this is costing you. While it’s something everyone has to do, it can quickly turn experiences from good to bad. That’s especially true in retail. The perception, not reality, of how long it’s taking impacts the experience. Retailers, eager to get in-store shoppers spending, can combat the perception with retail queuing systems.

Do Retail Queuing Systems Impact Perceived Wait Times and Customer Experience?

Generally speaking, you can conclude that if customers know how long they will have to wait, the experience will be better. There are scientific studies that confirm this. One found that leveraging a queuing system impacts experiences positively and intention to repurchase. 

That’s true when the technology meets their expectations. The study further points out that customers are more likely to achieve this outcome if the solution is convenient and fair. 

What Matters Most? Perceived or Actual Wait Times?

Much research exists on the subject of perceived versus actual wait times. Retailers have long focused on reducing actual times by using a variety of tactics, believing this to be what matters. However, for most customers, perception matters more, especially for those who are busy. The findings revealed that a customer’s satisfaction depends upon the perceived wait time, not the actual. If they believe it to be longer, satisfaction decreases, and vice versa. 

For retailers to achieve customer delight in these situations, they’ll need to include ways to improve perceptions. 

Answering the Question: How Long Will This Take?

From the time a customer enters your location until they get in line, they’re already thinking about it. They likely have other things to do and places to be. When they spot a long line with no indication of “how long will it take?” they begin to grow frustrated. Thought processes like these tend to lead to abandonment, as validated by the studies noted above. 

Queuing systems can help keep customers from moving into this agitated state. Abandonment decreases while store traffic increases. Customers leave more satisfied, and the perception of how long they waited also declines. You’ve set an expectation with them that’s transparent and convenient, and that goes a long way in building customer loyalty. 

How the NEMO-Q System Works for Retail Queuing 

Our retail queuing system offers customers options on how to get in line and what to do while waiting. They can choose to keep shopping and browsing on the sales floor, which could boost their spending. Others can decide to use the time to catch up on emails or make phone calls.

When it’s their turn, they receive a notification either by SMS or store speakers. Since customers can use wait time more effectively, their perceived wait time decreases. They may believe the wait was only 10 minutes when it was really 25. Since they were able to have autonomy over their time, they don’t feel like it was wasted. 

Show Customers You Value Their Time

Time may be a person’s most valuable asset. It’s also finite, and you can’t go back or make more of it. By deploying a retail queuing system in your store, you demonstrate to customers that you value their time. Customer experiences are seamless and streamlined. If you want to leave your customers with the best impression and earn their loyalty, this is an effective way to do just that. 

For over 40 years, we’ve been delivering queuing management solutions, so we understand your environment and your goals. Learn more about our retail queuing solutions today.

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Erik Berg

I'm Erik Berg, an experienced technology executive with a proven track record of success with Queue Management Solutions.

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