Help Customers Safely Wait in Line

Convenience stores can use well-defined queue lines to ensure shoppers practice safe social distancing.

April 14, 2020

This article is brought to you by Lavi Industries. Lavi-Logo-Dark_300-(1).png

VALENCIA, Calif.—Customers form quick opinions of your store while waiting in line, but a handful of small changes can ensure it’s a positive—and safe—one. “For many retailers, queuing has been an afterthought,” said Perry Kuklin, director of marketing with Lavi Industries. “However, now more than ever, it is important to have a well-defined queue that will not only help protect customer health and safety but also reduce perceived wait times and increase customer satisfaction.”

The queue is a highly visible customer touchpoint, and a negative experience can taint the entire visit, leaving an unsatisfactory imprint in the customer’s mind. “If a customer is confused or frustrated by unmarked or unsafe waiting lines, whether inside or outside the store, more often than not, they don’t enter or leave without purchasing,” Kuklin said.

To create a positive waiting experience and ensure customers are practicing safe social distancing, retailers should remove the angst of waiting and resolve the questions of “Am I in the right line?,” “Did I cut in line?” and “Who is in line ahead of me?” Ensuring customers will be willing to stand in line at your store, incorporate these two easy solutions into your checkout queue.

1. Communicate with signage. Let customers know where the line starts, and then provide direction on where to stand, emphasizing safe social distancing. “Simple stanchion signs can direct customers to wait behind each sign, eliminating confusion about where to stand,” Kuklin said.

2. Optimize customer flow. Too often, customers create their own lines that either block high-profit areas inside the store or form unpleasant—and unsafe—crowds outside the store entrance. “Creating defined queues using stanchions allows the retailer to take control of how their customers move in, through and out of the retail space,” Kuklin said. “Well-planned queues are the key to creating a safe, efficient waiting experience, especially in small spaces.”

Retailers who adjust their waiting lines to ensure effective communication and eliminate crowding will find customers more willing to wait. “Thoughtful queue layout and plenty of signage will greatly reduce customer frustration—and increase customer satisfaction,” Kuklin said.

This is the first installment of a two-part series about why it’s important to pay attention to the line. Look for how to increase revenue per square foot and impulse buys on the line in the April 16 edition of NACS Daily. For more about what Lavi Industries can do for the gas and convenience store industry, click here.