As a retail apparel company, it’s your responsibility to ensure your customers enjoy a stress-free and pleasurable experience each time they shop at one of your stores. This means:
- Making customers feel special as soon as they walk in the door
- Making items easy to find
- Encouraging sales associates to provide exceptional customer service
- Making sure a long line and long wait time isn’t the last memory a customer has when they leave the store.
Even if you’re in love with the design and layout of your store, it’s important to remember that everything you do, from product creation to check out, should cater to the needs of your customers. If the first thing a customer sees when they come through the door is a long line and it’s also the last thing they see when they leave, you won’t have a great relationship with that customer for long. In fact, did you know that 75% of retailers will lose a sale because of wait-related issues?
If you think your store may be losing business due to long wait times and unhappy customers, there are numerous ways to improve the flow, customer perception, and overall usability for your customers.
How Does Store Layout Affect Sales & What Can We Do About it?
#1: Consider Renovations
Renovation might sound like a scary word, and if we’re being completely honest with you, it really should be.
If the lines in your store look too intimidating to your customers and its been that way for a while, you may want to consider completely revamping the way you setup your store lines.
- Do you have enough fitting rooms to accommodate the number of customers that visit your store each day?
- Do you have enough cash register’s to accommodate the customers who purchase items from your store?
If you don’t know the answer to these questions, you first need to take an accurate measurement for several weeks, paying close attention to your peak times and slow times. If the lines stay hectic and long throughout the test period, then you know something needs to change. Just keep in mind that you need to be sure that a renovation is necessary for your store before you begin. Otherwise, you may experience diminishing returns.
#2: Restructure Your Queue Lines to Make Them Appear Shorter
When it comes to store queues and wait times, perception is reality. If you can restructure your lines to decrease a customer’s perception of queue length and wait times, then you’ve solved a problem that thousands of retailers face every day.
The best way to handle this restructure is to do a survey of your employees, and even some of your customers. First try keeping your lines straight, then try implementing lines that work like a maze, then try a line that wraps around an area of the store.
Ask your employees and customers what their perception of the wait is with each structure. As you conduct these short surveys, you’ll gain valuable insight into the minds of your customers.
If you don’t want to worry about manipulating the line, you can also split the line into sections or add more cashiers to make each line shorter. Doing this will require you to have more cashiers working, but if it means the difference between keeping customers and losing them, it’s a cost you’ll be more than happy to deal with.
#3: Advertise Mobile Payment Options and Message Alerts in the Store
This may not seem like a layout change, but it is. If you want to decrease the number of people waiting in line at your store, try offering a mobile pay option and restructure the sales floor in a way that puts all of the focus on that choice.
To make sure customers take advantage of your new payment option, make sure to advertise the mobile pay option as soon as a customer comes through the door. Include signage throughout the store that lists the benefits of paying online, and make sure each store associate promotes the mobile pay option to the customers they help in the store and in the fitting rooms. Once a customer knows she won’t have to hassle with long checkout lines, it will increase the likelihood that she’ll browse the store for a longer period of time and select more items.
Another great way to cut down store lines is to offer text message alerts for cashier lines and fitting rooms. If you know that a large number of your customers regularly use their phones while browsing the store, allow them to leave their name and number with you so you can send an alert to those customers when a fitting room opens up or a cashier is free.
You can set up a booth in your store specifically for customers to opt-in for mobile alerts. Offering these two mobile options will make life easier for your customers, your associates, and everyone will enjoy their experience.
If you want to take the next step and fully master the queue management of your stores, download our free guide, 9 Ways to Improve Sales with Queue Management below.