Survey Sees Need for Speed at Checkouts
By Bernice Hurst, Contributing Editor, RetailWire
Another day, another study
with conclusions that anyone knowing who paid for it could have safely predicted.
In this case, a survey of 2000 people conducted by Barclays Bank and published
by the BBC found 68 percent of U.K. participants
had abandoned a queue at one time or another.
Apparently more than two-thirds
abandoned the checkout line because it was taking too long to be served. Complaints
primarily focused on either too few staff at the counter or employees spending
too much time with customers. Other customers also came in for criticism for
taking "too long to find their cash, cards
or check books."
Eliminating staff "would speed things up," according
to Barclays’ assessment.
"By embracing technology and installing new payments systems, such as
contactless, retailers will stay ahead of the curve and limit the amount of
time that people are waiting in shop queues," said Stuart Neal at Barclaycard,
Barclays suggested "a third of retailers actually move their
tills to hide the queues." This recommendation supports the revelation
that some people refuse to even enter a store if they know they will have
While many retailers are struggling for business and desperately
trying to increase footfall, merchants are also struggling not to lose sales
because they have attracted too many customers.
Retail consultant Claire
Rayner told BBC News, "An enormous amount
of time and effort is invested to put in place labor-scheduling systems to
ensure staff are available to call to open tills … but the problem arises
when all the tills are open and the place is still heaving."
whose firm, Qmatic, designed systems used in U.K. post offices, suggested using
a single line for channeling shoppers into the next available line. The key,
he said, to customer satisfaction is managing expectations. "Those
kinds of systems which give you feedback, that tell you that service is progressing,
make the queue ‘sticky’ and stop people walking away."
Discussion Question: What are the most effective methods for reducing the
amount of time consumers spend on the checkout line?