Valencia, CA – During the holiday season, the retail imperative for in-queue merchandising becomes more important than any other time of the year. In addition to making long checkout lines seem to move more rapidly, strategic queue merchandising can significantly increase holiday sales per square foot and account for up to 65 percent of a store’s total sales.
“There is simply no argument to be made against turning a previously wasted space into a virtual profit center that facilitates impulse sales while increasing customer satisfaction,” said Perry Kuklin, director of marketing for Lavi Industries, retail’s leading provider of public guidance, queue management and crowd control solutions. “So the question for retailers is no longer if they should pursue in-queue merchandising, but how to plan and select the most appropriate merchandising solutions for their unique environments.”
Based on years of research and proven industry performance, Lavi Industries has identified six key steps for designing holiday queue merchandising that performs.
Step 1: Consider the space. The amount of space allocated to a checkout line is very important for customer flow and comfort. The key is to not crowd customers, yet not create a line that appears too long. Spacing becomes even more important when it comes to merchandising because there needs to be enough overall room to accommodate the displays and a heavier than average flow of holiday customers.
Step 2: Determine the line configuration. One queue or multiple, straight or serpentine; how the line is configured is a key determination. A serpentine line holds more people in a smaller space, makes it appear shorter and faster, and has less impact on service in other areas. And while multiple lines offer more customer flexibility and deters balking, a single-line configuration leading to multiple servers creates the all-important feeling of fairness. The first come, first serve ideal is maintained, eliminating worry, cutting, jockeying, and “sweethearting” that can occur with favored cashiers. And despite the perception, a single line almost always moves faster than a multiple-line configuration – especially when holiday shopping increases customer volumes.
Step 3: Diagram the queue. Taking the time to design and create a diagram of the line is always time well spent. It is the best way to make the most effective use of space for customer flow and ensure proper placement of in-line merchandise. Shorter lines in slower times should also be accounted for in the design, with stanchions and retractable belts available to redirect traffic (with merchandise still present there too).
Step 4: Select the product mix. For every category of retail store, it is important to choose interesting, smaller, impulse-friendly items for in-queue merchandising, as well as products that are not readily available elsewhere in the store. Bright, attractive and useful items will help engage customers during their time in line while effortlessly propelling sales.
Step 5: Select the merchandising fixtures. Seamless if executed well, such fixtures as merchandising racks, impulse bowls, tables, and display panels can all be integrated into the line itself. Attached to stanchions with retractable belts, bracketed to the wall, or dovetailed onto posts, they should be close to eye level and easily accessible, but not crowded or in the way of customers. It is also important to avoid overdoing it by pinching the customers with products on corners, piling it too high, or overtly filling the line lane.
Step 6: Add signage. Even the standard “line starts here” sign helps to appease people and lessen in-line anxiety. Besides offering instructions, signage can easily be connected to products. Video signage is especially engaging and provocative. How-to videos, promotional blurbs, and straight-out entertainment all lessen the impact of a line and boost sales appreciably.
“While retail’s big holiday season is just about to get started, there is still time to plan and execute,” Mr. Kuklin said. “When you consider that in-queue merchandising is a proven strategy for increasing holiday sales, there really is no alternative.”
Additional information on queue merchandising is available from Lavi Industries by calling 888-285-8605.
About Lavi Industries
Based in Valencia, California, Lavi Industries is the premier provider of public guidance and crowd control solutions in North America. Leveraging its portfolio of world-class brands – Beltrac® stanchions, Directrac® signage systems, Qtrac® electronic queuing systems, and NeXtrac® in-line merchandising systems – Lavi has helped the world’s leading companies effectively guide people in, through, and out of their facilities. More information is available at http://www.lavi.com.
Director of Marketing
Lavi Industries Inc.