The following excerpt is from an article written by Perry Kuklin, director of Marketing and Business Development for Lavi Industries, and was originally published on RetailCustomerExperience.com. She offers numerous ways that retailers can avoid customer frustration during busy times of the year. We've added in additional suggestions we think could easily be suited to a college store enviornment, during peak selling times such as rush. Read Kuklin's full article here.
Whether you're the type to make New Year's resolutions or not, every business owner and manager would like to see increased profits and happier, satisfied customers every year and every day. Resolve to make these goals happen by creating a better waiting line experience in 2014 with these easy strategies:
- Focus on entertainmentDistraction is the name of the game when it comes to a waiting line. And since today's culture is attuned to any type of screen action, populating your waiting lines with digital displays will keep their attention on what's playing and keep their minds off of the wait itself.Entertainment can literally include cartoons, talk shows, or cooking programs, but you can also take advantage of your captive audience and squeeze in promotional screens, commercials, or notices about upcoming specials. Digital displays are versatile and can be altered to suit your audience depending on the time or day.
College Store Tip: If digital isn't an option, use interactive games to engage your waiting customers. Check out December's Marketing Plan, The Price is Right at Textbook Rush for tons of ideas!
- Combine digital signage and merchandisingIf you're a retailer, this waiting line resolution is a no-brainer. People can see an item and note its advantages on their own, but actually seeing a product in action can solidify a sale that might have been iffy up to that point. Think about it: E-tailers use video to boost conversion rates and up sales-per-transaction; offline businesses can easily do the same.Use those handy digital displays to offer up video of a hot item identifying its versatility, and even show video endorsements from satisfied customers. With this type of media playing alongside in-line merchandising displays, you'll take care of two very important waiting line needs: distracting customers and increasing sales.
College Store Tip: Do you have plasma screens in your store to advertise events, promotions, etc.? Consider adding video to make the content even more engaging!
- Go Virtual
Don't ever forget how much people value their time and freedom — creating a virtual queue eliminates the need for anyone to actually "feel" like they're waiting and stuck in a line. Virtual queues allow customers to sit down, take care of other needs while waiting, and simply appreciate the opportunity to do whatever they like without being subject to the ebbs and flows of a waiting line.
College Store Tip: While investing in a virtual queue system probably isn't one of your priorities, their are less costly ways you can offer students the ability to virtually view the wait time. Some stores post wait times to Facebook and Twitter while others have installed line cams that let students see how long the wait is from the comfort of home (Read about one store's line cam here.)
- Keep Them Busy
Many retailers offer free WiFi but few advertise it as an advantage. This service can be a huge perk when you're stuck in a long line. Keep customers distracted by promoting the fact that they can browse the internet while they wait.
College Store Tip: Place signs in your check out line that not only let students know you have free WiFi, but also encourages them to 'Like' your Facebook page or other social networks while they wait. Then, offer a bonus for the action; have students show the cashier that they 'liked' your page for an extra discount. This action gains you a fan, keeps students occupied and rewards them for their wait!