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Retail hacks for the holiday season: Line busting

Tackling the shopping waiting game

The holiday season brings joy, celebrations, and a touch of shopping frenzy. 

However, two persistent pain points can quickly turn the festivities into frustrations: Crowded stores and long checkout lines. Both issues share a common denominator— they signify long, tedious, and stressful waits, all just to purchase a few presents. 

If you had to pick just one challenge to conquer this holiday season, amongst all the recommendations in our Retail Hacks series, your focus should be on line busting. 

Learning how to efficiently reduce waiting times can be a game-changer and why it’s the one challenge you can’t afford to ignore.

Customer pain points: Crowded stores and long lines

When shoppers face crowded stores and long checkout lines, they endure stressful delays that test their patience. These challenges not only hinder the joy of shopping but can lead to abandoned purchases and disgruntled customers. But tackling these challenges head-on with line busting strategies can transform the shopping experience and significantly impact your conversion rate.

The concept of line busting sounds enticing, but in practice, it’s easier said than done. 

The ideal solution would involve the implementation of a fully mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) system capable of pre-building baskets as customers shop and checking them out anywhere in the store. While this cutting-edge approach promises a revolution in the shopping experience, it typically requires several months to come to fruition.

How can you make a difference now?

What if we told you that you can make a meaningful impact on your checkout lines right now without the complexity and time investment of a fully mobile POS system? 

Here are some less sophisticated yet highly feasible line busting strategies that you can put into action this holiday season:

Add temporary registers: During peak shopping hours, consider setting up temporary registers to handle the increased traffic efficiently. This can significantly reduce the length of traditional checkout lines. You would be surprised to learn how few retailers implement temporary registers during their busiest season.

Express checkout lanes: If you have tried temporary registers already or if your IT department can’t do this in time for Black Friday, something else you can try, which can be done with your current infrastructure, is to enable express checkout lanes specifically for customers with a limited number of items who are paying with a credit card. This streamlined process is appreciated by those looking for a quick and convenient shopping experience. The downside is that you will incentivize a lower order volume, but on the other hand, you will tackle the two biggest complaints of every shopper, which makes it a great short-term solution.

Pre-checkout staff and processes: Have you noticed what Starbucks employees do when there’s a line larger than usual? They divide and conquer. One employee will take the orders, someone else will prepare it, and finally somebody else at the register will charge you for it. Define processes for peak times and assign staff to pre-checkout customers who are waiting in line. This could involve pre-scanning their items, addressing any customer questions or concerns, detaching security tags, pre-packing stations, or whatever makes sense to your business. The bottom line is to make the final checkout process smoother and faster.

What’s the Business Impact? 

In short, the business impact is increased customer satisfaction and conversion rates. By implementing these line busting strategies, you not only reduce the wait time for your shoppers but also enhance their overall shopping experience. The result? Increased customer satisfaction, higher conversion rates, and a boost to your holiday season sales.

Bringing it all together

Line busting is not just a strategy; it’s a commitment to improving the shopping experience during the busiest time of the year. While the fully mobile POS system may be a mid-term goal, the feasible strategies we’ve discussed are your keys to success this holiday season. 

By addressing the pain points of crowded stores and long waiting lines, you can offer shoppers a more enjoyable, stress-free experience and, in the process, elevate your holiday season sales to new heights. Don’t let the wait game be your retail nightmare— let line busting be your ultimate solution.

You can read more in the other blogs in our retail hacks for the holiday season series:

Learn more

While there may not be enough time to implement long-term solutions before retail’s busiest season, it is the perfect time for you and your IT department to start planning the deployment of line-busting mobile POS.

Contact us today to get the ball rolling on an amazing customer experience year-round.

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