As the Christmas period draws closer, there are those retailers who will be looking to ensure the customer experience is seamless over this period.
One of the most irritating aspects of shopping during the Christmas period is that customers often have to wait in long queues.
"Queues cost British retailers £3,581 per day as busy shoppers lose patience"
It is not uncommon that customers’ hate waiting in queues, as most of us do when we’re shopping. But when it comes to Christmas shopping, usually from late November through to Christmas Eve, footfall numbers increase and stores are 10x busier.
As we approach the busy Christmas peak, we thought it would be worth exploring ways in which retailers can keep queuing time to a minimum and still provide exceptional levels of customer service.
As you may have seen in popular restaurants, customer pagers are used to alert the customer when their seat or food is ready or available. Customer paging can be used to inform customers of when their purchased items are ready for collection. This works great for those retailers who offer gift wrapping as part of their Christmas service because instead of waiting in line, customers are free to roam the store and can be alerted when their items are ready.
Preventing customers from waiting in line for too long is a sure way to keep those customers' happy and maximise sales, but fashion retailers are using call buttons in addition to in-store technology, that has proven to increase sales conversion.
"40% of customers would rather leave with nothing than call out to attract help with sizing, styles or colours"
Call button technology will allow customers' to communicate with shop assistants more discretely without having to leave the cubicle. If customers need a different size, colour or style, the shop assistant knows exactly where the items are and is able to get it for the customer. Another great example of building closer relationships with customers.
Finally, communication between the shop floor and the warehouse will be crucial to reducing any waiting times for customers. As the Christmas period approaches, footfall is set to increase dramatically. Some retailers benefit using walkie-talkies on the shop floor and being able to communicate directly with the warehouse/back office to check stock. More customer footfall requires more stock and inventory needed. Even with allocations from head office, retailers still can find their shop floor bare from heavy trading hours and days leading up to Christmas, and instant communication can prevent customers from having to wait for stock, style and size availability.
In today's retailing, it is vital that retailers include mobile, beacon and RFID technology to be able to see information such as stock, in real-time. It's the information available instantaneously that helps retailers provide a much better service.
"Research has shown that customers perceive their time spent waiting in queues to be three times longer than it actually is."
Some other ways in which retailers better entertain customers during busy periods is the usage of digital signage, video displays, and entertainment systems including music in the store - just to make the queueing more bearable for customers.
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