COMMENT: Call Off the Search: Five Top Tips to Banish the Queues this Christmas


Not only is the chaos of queuing tedious for shoppers, but it also gives staff a headache as lines of frustrated customers snake towards the door. As the countdown to Christmas begins, here are a few queue-busting tips to help retailers stay calm as the crowds descend.

1 – Customer paging. One of the top attractions for shoppers at Christmas is a gift-wrapping service. This might seem counter-intuitive in the attempt to combat queues but retailers can manage the wait by issuing waiting customers with a pager, which is used to alert them when their perfectly packaged gift is ready for collection.

2 – Call buttons. It’s party season and many people are on the search for the right outfit. The majority of retailers can’t afford to place staff in changing rooms at all times, yet a shocking 40% of customers would rather leave with nothing than call out to attract help with sizing or colours. The solution lies in a call system using a discreet button on the wall of each cubicle that quietly alerts staff to a customer with a request – no waiting around for the customer and no chance of losing a sale simply because of a lack of communication.

3 – Aisle pagers. During the festive period many people invite a house-full determined to create the ultimate Christmas experience for family and friends and inevitably stores fill up as they shop for everything they need. It can be hard to supply enough staff to answer the constant flow of queries. If they can’t find what they’re looking for don’t or see anyone to help, time-pressed customers will simply leave. However a recent survey we conducted revealed, 57% of consumers felt a simple button on the aisles to page staff for help would significantly enhance their experience, while maintaining the bottom line for retailers.

4 – Two-way radios. Simple but effective two-way radios save customers gathering as they wait for news from the warehouse. Giving staff a reliable radio system instantly connects the teams in the front of the store with those behind the scenes for the slickest service.

5 – And if you still can’t bust the queue? Busk it instead. Research has shown that customers perceive their time spent waiting in queues to be three times longer than it actually is. Now imagine this in a short staffed store approaching Christmas – yikes! Retailers can attempt to alter this perception by entertaining the line. Think screens to watch, friendly staff in Christmas costumes, or festive bands to brighten the mood.


However they do it, shops need to get customers in the Christmas spirit to make sure every visit produces a sale. Whether it’s with a sprinkle of tech or a dash of distraction, with this advice in mind, all retailers should be able to pull something out of the bag to please the crowds this year.

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