Will You Win that $669.28 Back-to-School Budget?

August 19, 2014Perry Kuklin

The National Retail Federation (NRF) recently announced the results of their 2014 Back-to-School Survey which found the average family will spend $669.28 on apparel, shoes, supplies, and electronics for their children in grades K-12. Slow economic improvement is credited for this year’s 5% growth in back-to-school shopping over last year. The question is, will your store win these sales? As you entertain a range of parents, children, and teens during this back-to-school season there is one thing for sure: No sale is a sure thing if your checkout line fails to make the grade. Here are some best practices to ensure that you get those back-to-school dollars from as many parents as possible:

Prepare ahead for longer wait times.

There will be Ninja Turtle lunch boxes and oodles of glue sticks and shiny new sneakers, but one thing those harried parents and disgruntled kids will remember about their back-to-school shopping experience is how easy it was to get through the checkout line. One Idea: Cut down on customer wait times with queue additions like station lights or audio cues that direct customers to open registers and keep cashier productivity high.

Make the wait FEEL shorter.

The psychological side of queue management (the EXPERIENCE of waiting in line) is as important as the operational element of queue management (the ACTUAL time spent waiting). . Exhausted parents and children will enter the queue in a heap, desperate to get out of the store and decompress. They’ll be very focused on how fast the queue is moving unless you find ways to implement distractions. Reduce perceived wait times and promote and cross-sell products by keeping in mind the psychological aspects of queuing. An idea: Adding merchandise to your queue will keep customers occupied as they shop for last-minute items. Bolster this with digital displays featuring promotions or videos for even greater impact.

Keep your eye on the ball.

Waiting lines can change in an instant. Monitor the efficiency and length of your queue in real time to identify problems in the queue before they get out of hand. Heavy traffic flow, busy times of the day, backed-up lines – all of these elements can be monitored with quick-to-install technology that counts people and tracks service times. It’s not too late to impact your back to school success. What changes will you make today to make your queue better tomorrow?

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