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How to Turn Customer Wait Time Into an Experience

People hate it when they have to wait in line for 45 minutes at their neighborhood grocery store, but they have no trouble at all waiting in line for three hours to get the newly released iPhone or get front row seats to the new Star Wars movie. Either way they’re standing in line, so what makes the difference?

Though your customers may expect to wait in line when trying on clothes or making a purchase at your retail store, if you really want to dazzle them you need to turn their wait into an experience they will remember forever.

Times Writer Mandy Oaklander once wrote that when a customer waits for an experience instead of an object, they get excited about the wait instead of dreading it. If you can learn how to make the wait a little more exciting, you will retain more customers and increase your in-store revenue in the long run. Instead of seeing the wait as a process they have to go through, customers will begin to feel like they are part of a unique event that caters to their needs.

The Key to Keeping Customers Happy in Line

Did you know that out of all the reasons a retail store can lose a sale, more than 75% of those are attributed to wait related issues?

A long wait time can be the kiss of death for your retail company if you don’t get it under control, but the following tips can help you keep customers happy while they wait.


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#1:  Place Low-Cost Items Near Your Lines

If a customer has nothing to do other than look at all the people that are in front of them in line, they will quickly lose interest and it will increase the likelihood that they leave the store. However, if you can give your customers something fun to look at that will keep them engaged during the wait time, before they know it they’ll be in the fitting room or at the register.

One extremely effective way to keep your customers occupied is to decorate the wait lines with low-priced items that will peak their interest. Keep in mind that you don’t want the cost of these items to be high, because your customers will already be carrying clothes and other items to try on or purchase, so low-priced items will appear less threatening. This is a great upsell strategy that works well when done correctly.

Related Post: Retail Upselling and Cross-Selling: How to Increase the Value of Every Sale

#2:  Make Mobile Technology a Part of the Customer Wait Time

Sometimes the best way to alleviate the pain of a long wait time is to eliminate the need to stand in the line in the first place. When you implement mobile technology and make it a part of the wait time experience, your customers can occupy themselves with more shopping instead of standing, which makes the customer happy and leads to an increase in revenue.

One great way to make mobile a part of the wait time experience is to offer text message alerts for fitting rooms. Instead of forcing customers to stand in line until a room opens up, give them the option to receive a text message alert when a room becomes available. Offering fitting room text alerts will increase your chances of customers picking up more items while they wait, which will increase your store revenue. The other option is to make them stand in line, which may result in them leaving the store empty-handed.

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#3:  Add Video

Remember when movie theatres began showing inside scoop previews and trivia questions to engage customers before the actual start time of a movie? You can apply this same tactic to your retail stores to make the wait time more enjoyable for your customers.

Are you ready to take your wait time entertainment to the next level? Add a few flat-screen televisions near your lines that show:

  • Clips of models wearing various clothing items
  • New seasonal promotions that will be coming soon
  • Offers customers can only access by downloading your store’s mobile app or visiting the company website.

If you keep the customer engaged with video they will forget about the long wait time and instead focus on the special promotions you are advertising. If you change these videos often the customer will be more inclined to return to your store to see what’s new. Implementing this tactic will make them excited to jump in line instead of counting the minutes until their turn.

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What’s Next?

If you want to keep your customers happy, improve their lifetime value and increase your revenue, then you need to find out what your queue is costing you. If you’d like to learn more about how you can manage your queue and maximize your profits, download our free guide, “9 Ways to Improve Sales With Queue Management.”

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