Black Friday is almost here. Within a 24-48 period, you can count on some of the biggest and most enthusiastic crowds of the year. Shoppers historically pour out in droves early Friday morning (some even shopping on the holiday or camping out Thursday night). All are looking for the best deals of the season. Actual foot traffic reported in 2013 was more than 1.07 billion shoppers between Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. And according to the NRF Holiday Playbook, last year 68% of retailers showed Black Friday as the highest sales revenues for the year. In busy times like these, it’s critical to keep crowds calm, managed, and moving. To maximize safety and sales it is valuable to go even one step further and do your part to keep shoppers happy. What if you could surprise your customers by losing the long lines and providing a controlled and efficient queue experience? What if you could make this year all about the score and much less about the wait?
Virtual queuing is a fast track solution to keep customers happy and crowds dispersed. A virtual queue allows customers to check in at their convenience, spend their wait as they choose, and receive a convenient ‘call forward’ text or email to arrive when their service time is near. Virtual queuing is transforming crowd control as it prevents the crowd from forming in one place, and distributes both the crowd and the wait time in more productive ways.
By tracking foot traffic and relaying real-time data to managers and staff, your whole team can be ready to react swiftly by opening additional service stations, adjusting the queue structure, or even communicating wait times to keep customers informed. Customers feel cared for when they see responsiveness, which can promote calmness and increase customer satisfaction - key aspects of keeping a crowd under control.
Reducing perceived wait time is another key way to keep a crowd calm. Electronic signage allows you to publish content including merchandising messages or educational content. Bring in humor, excitement, holiday joy, or reminders about the meaningful aspects of the holidays. Distracting and directing customers is a great way to keep the tone of your venue right where you want it.
Controlling a crowd also means keeping it moving. 63% of consumers requested “help me check out quickly” as a top priority in the 2015 NRF holiday survey. Using your physical structures, directional signage, and even mobile solutions, you can help customers know exactly where to go to find exactly what they need. Utilizing efficient staff systems you can monitor where staff can be the most productive at any time.
Keep customers moving and relaxed by leaving pathways clear and obvious signage or instructions about how to maneuver to and through the venue, especially any waiting areas. Any confusion creates stress, so do everything you can to keep customers informed and all paths to a satisfying customer experience clear.
Feeling like the queue isn’t fair or trying to choose which queue to take can create tension in a customer or between customers. Do your part to make sure the queue is fair by using a single queue with multiple service agents. Crowd control is not something to take lightly. We invite you to find out what the crowd control experts at Lavi would recommend for your venue. Request a consultation.