Gen Z and Your Queue: 3 Tips for Success

July 07, 2017Perry Kuklin

Born in the mid-90s and later, the next generation of consumers is heading into their twenties as self-reliant “digital natives.” A recent IBM Institute and National Retail Federation (NRF) study found this generation is a unique group which has never known a world without the internet and mobile devices. Fluidly navigating between their online and offline worlds, Gen Zers are also pragmatic and realistic. 98 percent prefer to make purchases in brick-and mortar stores. And their economic power is great as this 2 - 2.5 billion strong population extends significant influence over their families and communities.

The report, “Uniquely Generation Z,” shared key insights on what brands should know about today’s youngest consumers. While there were many takeaways, a few stood out to us for their impact and relevance on the retail queue. Here are 3 takeaways and tips for more successful queue management based on the findings of the IBM study:

1. Be mobile-focused.

The IBM-NRF study cites many examples where retailers can use mobile technology to their advantage. From shopping and customer service to social interaction and gamification, mobile functionality is key to connecting with Gen Z. Mobile can also be used to anticipate and exceed the expectations of this generation in-store. Mobile can be employed in customer-facing and associate-facing capacities, such as:

  • Allowing shoppers to enter a waiting line, for fitting rooms, checkout, sales assistance, or any other queue, with a touch of a button on their mobile device
  • Giving associates visibility into customer traffic, information, and preferences

The opportunities are endless to bring mobile into the fold of your customer queuing experiences.

2. Don't make them wait.

Gen Zers are accustomed to having things here and now. They are impatient with waiting, whether waiting for an app to load or waiting in a physical line. For this reason, retailers are encouraged to assess and analyze their systems in relation to “digital-experience metrics.” Is your physical waiting line up to par with what a Gen Zer might expect in a similar digital environment? If not, it’s time to adjust.

Some tips to consider: Use footfall analytics to manage waiting lines. Use virtual queuing to eliminate physical queues where possible. Automate queuing functions where possible to streamline the process.

3. Value their opinions. Let them help!

The IBM-NRF study recommends engaging Gen Zers in championing your brand. In this way, it’s important to let their opinions be heard. One way of accomplishing this in a retail environment is to incorporate real-time feedback mechanisms. Whether through your mobile app or through kiosks placed at key locations in the store, find out how you’re doing. Are the bathrooms clean enough? Is the wait too long? Do you have the help you need? How can we improve? You won’t know unless you ask. And by asking, you’re better able to earn the type of trust that will extend for years to come.

Is your queuing strategy up to the test of this next generation of consumers?

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