Christmas is just around the corner and retail brick-and-mortar businesses everywhere are preparing. In fact, many stores start decorating and stocking Christmas-themed items the day after Halloween. And, if you haven’t planned out your Black Friday and Christmas sales, you better get a roll on it now. People are making their lists and researching the products they want to buy online before they venture out to shop at local malls and businesses. Your employees are looking forward to, or dreading, the day you switch the store music to the Christmas station. And you’re likely preparing for extra-long Christmas shopping lines at your store.
Holiday Shopping In Years’ Past
Shopping during the holidays is typically predictable and doesn’t vary much from year to year. Early in the holiday season, you have the smart and timely shoppers who buy early and beat the late-season crowds. Christmas shopping lines are pretty manageable during this time and employees are easy going. But when Black Friday hits, the attitude changes for most retail locations.
Your business may be familiar with lines that form in the wee hours of the morning on Black Friday and stretch around the building.
You and your employees cower in fear behind shelves and register stations from the zombie-like faces fogging up the front doors with their hot breath. Like wild predators, they stare through the windows waiting for any sign of movement, listening for the jingle of keys that will release them inside. You prepare to be trampled as the doors are finally opened and crowds of people push and shove past each other to get to the goods.
That might be an exaggeration, but you know the scene. Black Friday is a chaotic time when Christmas shopping lines are outrageous. Your face may light up like it’s Christmas morning when you see shoppers flooding your store, but how do the customers feel about their shopping experience?
Some people avoid leaving the house on Black Friday, but others live for the thrill of the hunt for good deals. Even though many Black Friday deals can be found online and we now have Cyber Monday for even more deals online, surveys show that most people still enjoy Black Friday shopping in brick and mortar stores. There’s just something satisfying about handling things and trying on clothing before you commit to buying it. Instant gratification is a plus too. The only negative is the Christmas shopping lines.
Think back to the last time you were out shopping on Black Friday or the week before Christmas. It can be difficult to navigate through aisles and Christmas shopping lines are long and slow. For many people, it can be enough to make them drop their items on any shelf and walk right out. Everybody hates to wait. With so many customers, employees get worn down, exhausted, and can be grumpy to customers from all of the hustle and bustle. Long Christmas shopping lines combined with strung out employees is a recipe for bad online reviews. When customers have a negative experience, it can prompt them to express it with a negative review, even if they rarely ever post reviews about anything.
Using Customer Queue Software for a Better Christmas Future
Long Christmas shopping lines are a thing of the past when businesses use QLess. With the software, customers can get a spot in line immediately when they enter the store. They can use a physical kiosk location or use an app on their mobile phone to enter the queue. Once they join, they will get a notification through a text or voice message of the approximate wait time. This means they can effectively shop while they are waiting to be checked out. As their position in line advances, they will get notifications letting them know new wait times. They even have an option to request additional shopping time without losing their spot in line.
With QLess customer queue software, your lines are now dispersed throughout the store instead of clogging up the register area. You no longer need to manage a congested front end of the store.
If customers find everything they need and still have time to wait before they get checked out, they can wander the store and browse more items. They even may find more purchases they weren’t even looking for. If they were standing in line at a register, they may pick up some extra candy or gum, but when you give them the opportunity to wander the entire store while they wait, your add-on sales have the chance to be higher ticket items.
Employees no longer have to stare at intimidating Christmas shopping lines with gaggles of shoppers who grow testier with each passing moment they have to wait. When a little old lady pays with pocket change and a check, there will be no angry sighs and looks of annoyance from people in line behind her because they will be happily shopping.
When you eliminate the lines, everybody benefits:
- Customers are happier and use their wait time to purchase more goods.
- Fewer customer walk-outs and abandoned items.
- Employees can focus on serving one customer at a time and don’t become overwhelmed with Christmas shopping lines full of irritated customers.
- Satisfied customers leave good reviews and recommend your store to others.
Customer Analytics Improve Your Planning Abilities
The QLess customer queue software tracks valuable data and analytics from your customers’ purchasing habits and preferences. This data helps give you better insights when planning your sales and promotions. You’ll be able to draw more people to your store for sales on items they really want to buy. You can even send customers notifications of your store’s current deals and promotions while they are waiting in the Christmas shopping line. Tracking data can also increase your employee engagement, which leads to a higher quality of customer service, productivity, and higher profits.
In addition to purchasing data, QLess also sends a satisfaction survey to the customer’s phone as soon as they have exited the Christmas shopping line queue. Research shows that the sooner you can send customers a survey, the more likely they are to complete it. An immediate survey request sent to a mobile device is far more effective than surveys that are emailed to customers during the same day. You can use your survey data to optimize how your store operates, improve staffing, and find areas that need improvement.
Long Christmas Lines Aren’t Just for Retail Stores
While retail stores undoubtedly get the highest amount of business during the holidays, there are many other industries that see an uptick in business for this cheerful season. QLess not only gives your retail location valuable convenience for your Christmas shopping lines but also lends the same to other industries that have similar holiday sales and events.
During the holidays, theme parks become bedazzled with thousands of Christmas lights and decorations. They break out the hot cocoa stands, fill the air with holiday music, and bring in Santa and live reindeer. People who would otherwise not go to a theme park come out in droves to see the fantastic displays. Lines to get into the park and lines for seasonally operating rides can be long and aggravating for park patrons. QLess customer queue software alleviates the lines and lets customers roam the park shops, food stands, and restaurants. They can plan out their park experience based on stores and rides they want to visit. If they need more time, they can push themselves back in line instead of having to start at the beginning.
Winter is a time when the cold and flu are rampant. With cheap or free flu shots, people flock to doctors’ offices to protect themselves from sickness. Any time of year, however, there can be long lines to see a healthcare professional. Waiting rooms only provide so much entertainment and patients become bored easily. With the QLess customer queue software, Patients are able to leave the building and do whatever they want to until they are notified that they are getting near to the front of the waiting line. This makes patients happy and improves their experience. Reviews are essential to any business’s reputation, but especially so in the healthcare industry. Satisfied patients mean they will leave good reviews and recommend your business to their friends and family.
The holiday season is upon us and the Christmas shopping lines will only continue to grow through to the new year. Don’t get stuck in another season of irritable Black Friday zombies, burnt-out workers, and bad reviews from frustrated Christmas shoppers. Change the way your customers think about waiting in Christmas shopping lines with the QLess customer queue software. Once you implement it in your business, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it.