Queue Management Must-Haves for Black Friday Survival

October 01, 2012Perry Kuklin

To survive the hoards of energetic, intense customers on Black Friday weekend, you have to stay one step ahead of the crowd. These are the queue management must-haves so you can remain in control of your store and keep everyone happy – inside and out.

A plethora of stanchions

Invest in extra queue management products for Black Friday. Have additional stanchions with retractable belts already in place to accommodate a heavier customer flow outside the entrance doors and at the registers. Be prepared for quick deployment should the line grow longer than anticipated or an emergency occur. Plan for the expected and be prepared for the unexpected.

A heavy-duty queue

Rowdy crowds impatiently waiting to get inside the store or pushy customers on the floor can easily knock posts to the ground, ruining a carefully plotted queue configuration. Opt for reinforced barriers. Upgrade to permanent posts that are drilled into the floor, or make use of stanchions with heavy magnetic bases. It will be tough for even the most determined customers to compromise such strong, clear boundaries.

Clear signage

Clear signage advising Black Friday customers of where and how to enter, wait, and exit a queue is well-advised. Aim for signage that features legible, visible, and easy to understand messages. (A simple, “Store opens at 7 a.m.” can keep early-bird customers in check at the entrance.) Also, have stand-by signage available should it be necessary to redirect customers in case of an unexpected snafu.

Smart in-line merchandising

in queue merchandising

An important element of queue management is finding ways to keep customers happy and occupied while they wait. As a waiting line holds them somewhat captive, allow your shoppers to experience great stocking stuffer-type goods throughout the line. Make sure in-line merchandising offerings are strategic – toy stores, attach see-through bowls to stanchions and fill them with batteries; office supply stores, display fun USB character flash drives; bookstores, keep bookmarks front and center. Just don’t go overboard on goods or giant displays – more merchandise does not necessarily equate to more sales.

Electronic queuing

If you have been considering electronic queuing for your retail space but have yet to implement it, now might be the best time to pull the trigger on this queue management solution. Electronic queuing can be installed quickly and be up and running shortly thereafter. Visually and audibly directing customers to where they need to be via a single-line electronic queue takes the pressure off of shoppers who feel they need to be on high-alert about who’s next and what line is “best,” plus the “first come, first served” feeling helps promote fairness. Even better, impatient shoppers can be distracted with digital promotions, how-to videos, advertisements, or just plain entertainment.

Some might say Black Friday is all about excess. If that’s the case, then you can’t be too prepared for the crowds that will descend on your store this now traditional holiday weekend. Consult with a Lavi crowd management expert for Black Friday advice that is tailor-made for your retail environment.

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