To wait or not to wait, how much is your checkout queue costing you?

Long queues cost you money: in lost purchases and brand reputation. Find out how you can reduce queues and increase efficiency in your retail store.

How to reduce queues in your retail store

High demand and a busy store are good news, right?

Not always.

If customers have to queue too long, they will get frustrated. The longer the queue, the higher the customer dissatisfaction. In fact, customer frustration can be so high they abandon their purchase – and never come back. Here’s what to do about it.

You could be throwing away millions of dollars

So, it’s all coming together beautifully: your advertising and promotions have brought people to your store; your gorgeous displays have lured them in through the door; your strategically arranged store layout has influenced chosen products and now they’re ready to pay.

Along with everyone else.

So they wait, and wait. The clock is ticking; there’ve got a hundred things to do. Frustrations rise. What happens? They either dump their purchases and walk out, or they suffer in silence and vow never to return.

All that investment in brand marketing and product advertising is wasted.

Customer wait times cost more than just abandoned sales

In a way, queue lines are a good problem to have. They usually represent a growing and relevant business with engaged customers.

However, constantly slow moving queues can cost you.

Slow checkout lines can deter purchases, reduce customer experience and increase abandoned purchases. It's estimated that 75% of retailers will lose a sale because of wait related issues- click to tweet.

Plus, extensive research proves that queuing at the checkout is the number one cause of customer dissatisfaction in retailing. In fact, 56% of people who have a bad queueing experience won't return to that store: – convenience truly is king.

Even other lines instore can cause lost purchases, such as queues for fitting rooms, lay-by or kiosk assistance.

What can you do about queues?

In the short-term, you can consider two quick fixes often used by retailers: distraction and shorter queues.

Let’s start with distraction.

The psychology of queuing says waits seem shorter when you’re distracted. You can ensure you have value add items nearby along with background music to distract from the wait. This the classic magazines-near-the-supermarket-checkout trick.

Then, there’s the research that people are happier with shorter length queues. When presented with multiple checkout queues, we usually select a shorter line even though a longer line might be moving faster.

So, to keep lines looking attractive to new customers, emphasise maintaining shorter and faster checkout queues throughout the day, even if it means a higher number of queues.

Yet both of these tactics are only bandaids – they don’t actually solve the problem. And if you’re relying on entertainment and trickery to retain customers, sooner or later they’ll rebel.

A far more effective strategy is to reduce queues entirely, through responsive staffing.

Take control of your queues

Despite what your staff might think, customer demand is NOT random. You can predict it, and respond swiftly to it – if you use the right technology - click to tweet

Brick and mortar stores have typically measured store performance through point-of-sale data or door counters. But the real picture is more complex.

An estimated 73% of shoppers will abandon purchases if they have to wait longer than five minutes to make that purchase.

The answer is queue management technology. This allows you to take back control and analyse, predict and manage high in-store activity.

For example, you can quickly evaluate the number of customers waiting for service, and immediately put in place measures to minimise or eliminate bottlenecks.

Queue management technology can provide real-time updates on wait times and your current service level.

Queue track is always on, watching and reporting.

If you have a sudden rush of customers, or wait times become too long, then management can receive real-time, actionable alerts.

With real-time updates and alerts, managers can head-off problems before they arise. Plus, employees can work more efficiently, moving to where they’re needed most.

A better customer experience

The results?

  • Reduced wait times through faster checkout.
  • Reduced abandoned sales.
  • Increased customer service.
  • Reduce complaints.
  • Cost savings in staff scheduling: schedule the staff you need, when you most need them.
  • Happier, less stressed staff.


How does it work?

Onsite Insights queue management technology is based on edge computer vision. This is extremely accurate and captures over 98% of people without storing or sending any imagery.

Unlike camera counting products, we cover a much larger area and track the anonymous customer throughout the whole area.

Plus, by classifying adults and children, you’re able to better understand your audience.

By creating numerous trigger lines and zones the solution is tailored to your specific layout.

Trigger lines count people walking past a line in either direction.

Zones count how many people are in any defined area at any given time – and how long they spend in that area.

Together, these allow you to do more than just count how many people walked past a register or a cashier line.

Be it live or historical, you can see how long a customer spent in a line, how long the line was, how long they spent in-front of each cashier, and which cashiers were open/closed throughout the day – all in a few seconds.

For those that prefer visuals we provide live and historical heatmaps that show where most activity occured within the covered area.

A secure web dashboard provides clear and easy reports, be it live, or historically for a day, week, month and so on.


All retailers want quick, seamless and happy purchases. With all the investment in bringing people into the store, we need to do everything we can to stop them walking out before purchasing.

You can reduce wait times by using real-time monitoring and data analysis, with the latest queue management technology.

Find out how queue management can boost sales in your stores. Email Onsite Insights or call us on 1300 664 550.


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