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How long lines drive away UK retail customers

When shopping in store, convenience and efficiency are the basic requirements for consumers. A busy shop may indicate a thriving business, but long checkout queues can… View Article

RETAIL SOLUTIONS UK NEWS

How long lines drive away UK retail customers

When shopping in store, convenience and efficiency are the basic requirements for consumers.

A busy shop may indicate a thriving business, but long checkout queues can be a profit killer for retailers. The checkout process is one of the most important steps in the in-store customer journey, and a recent survey by Systopia (Zucchetti UK) reveals the hidden costs associated with customer frustration at this critical point.

The study found that while most customers (63%) reported experiencing short waits, specific sectors such as grocery (52.7%) and clothing (56.8%) are falling short of customer expectations. This highlights the need for improvement, especially in these high-volume environments where efficient operations are needed.

On average, customers will tolerate waits of just over 5 minutes before abandoning their purchase. When faced with a long line, 35.1% of customers will go elsewhere, while 19.8% will opt to shop online instead – resulting in a substantial revenue loss for brick-and-mortar retailers.

Notably, customers in the food and beverage sector have an even lower tolerance for waiting, with 36.8% seeking alternatives immediately if faced with a long queue. It is also unsurprising that the younger generation of shoppers, accustomed to the convenience of online shopping, have a strong preference for the shortest in-store experience, aiming to complete their purchases in 15 minutes or less.

The implications of these findings are clear: to keep pace with these consumer demands and the digital age, retail businesses must prioritise efficient checkout processes and minimise wait times to avoid the prospect of immediate revenue loss and the potential for customer churn.

Retailers can address this issue by implementing several strategies.

First, they should leverage modern technologies to streamline the checkout process, such as self-checkout terminals, mobile payment options, and queue management systems that provide real-time updates on wait times.

Second, they should optimise staffing levels during peak hours to ensure adequate coverage at checkout counters.

Furthermore, retailers must recognise that a fast and efficient checkout process is no longer an exception but a minimum standard that must be met to ensure a convenient shopping experience. As consumers continue to demand seamless and hassle-free interactions, retailers who fail to prioritise checkout efficiency risk losing customers to competitors or online alternatives.

By addressing this issue of long checkout queues and optimising the customer checkout experience, retailers can not only retain their existing customer base but also attract new shoppers seeking a convenient and efficient in-store experience.

Download thefull report, “The Resilience of High-Street Retail” to explore these insights further and discover additional strategies to optimise your retail operations and enhance customer satisfaction.

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