Innovating for Wait Times

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True innovation happens when opportunity is met with creativity. And retail is missing an opportunity. Think about any time you’ve been to a store in the last six months. What was the best part? What was the worst? Unless there was some magnificent mess-up on the part of the store, chances are the worst part of your shopping experience is waiting in line to check out.

Wait times are inevitable. It wouldn’t make sense to have enough POS systems and employees so that customers never have to wait, but there’s a better way to manage the time they spend in line. There are better ways to connect with your customers and reinforce your brand experience than lining aisles with impulse purchase options, or worse, leaving them to aimlessly scroll a newsfeed.

So much room for activities

Before you can engage your customers, it’s helpful to give them something to do. They’re already scrolling through their phone. What else could they be doing? What would be more fun, active, and engaging for them? If you provide decent content, people will engage with it, at least once.

Some stores are already implementing interactive games or creative ways to deliver company news updates and developments. If you don’t want to install digital monitors or touch-screens, then utilize something they already have; a phone! Tons of popular apps are developing new ways to utilize their services, to help businesses communicate and interact with customers. Snapchat is an excellent example of a Customer facing platform, optimized for business utilization. Their Geofilters offer brands an easy way to empower customers to capture and share your brand message.

Save the sales pitch

Advertising is not the same as engaging. Too many retailers take this opportunity to develop authentic connections, and manipulate it into another pitch. Conversions are the name of the game, but you’re not going to get them when you seem like a sleazy salesman.

When you’re brainstorming what kind of content you’d like to employ, think about how it will be perceived. What does your customer get out of engaging with your content? If the answer is nothing, you’re better off doing nothing. For example, some retailers and restaurants are installing virtual jukeboxes. Simply connect to the Wi-Fi with your smartphone or tablet, and play your favorite songs for free. It gives your customers an opportunity to entertain themselves, while still engaging with your business.

Keep it simple, smartypants

However you choose to engage customers in line, don’t complicate it. Think about how long your average wait time is, and adjust your plan accordingly. You won’t need to screen feature films (unless your lines are very long and your service is very poor). It’s better to give them a complete experience, one they can finish before they arrive at the register.

If you can give your customers a complete, relevant, authentic experience while they wait in line, you’ll be taking advantage of the most valuable asset; time. When given the right content, at the right time, customers want to and will engage with your brand.

For more information about how we innovate spaces to improve customer experience, fill out our contact form below. We’ll help you engage like never before.