By Perry Kuklin, Director of Marketing and Business Development, Lavi Industries
The checkout line is an integral part of any retail business. Not only does it facilitate the completion of transactions and drive customer satisfaction levels, but it also stands on prime profit-earning real estate.
Your checkout line can help you capitalize on the 40% to 85% of retail sales that are driven by impulse shopping. How? Through in-queue merchandising that puts enticing products right in front of your waiting customers.
What is in-queue merchandising and how do you use it?
In-queue merchandising is when stanchions, racks, tables, baskets, signage, and other accessories join forces to create a queue that strategically displays products and/or advertising messages to customers while they wait in line. Sound complicated? It’s not. In fact, you can plan an in-queue merchandising system in 3 simple steps.
How to plan your in-queue merchandising system:
- Consider your queuing space and layout
Whether looking to add merchandising to your current queue or planning to redesign your waiting line altogether, you’ll need to consider whether to use a single-line or multiple-line setup. Using a single-line queue will help decrease average wait time while also providing a more streamlined merchandising plan.
The customer journey is a critical consideration when planning the checkout queue. Try incorporating the following features into your queue design:
- A flexible design that allows for angles and turns to fit tight or unique spaces.
- A logical, linear flow from entrance, to service, to exit to prevent bottlenecks and crowding.
- A plan for queue overflow to help mitigate sales-crushing overcrowding in critical high-profit areas or at the store entrance.
- Wider lanes to accommodate in-queue merchandising shelves, pegs, and baskets
- Queue entrance Signage for clear direction
- Add merchandising displays to queuing stanchions
A flexible merchandising display can easily merge with retractable belt stanchions for a quick and highly effective merchandising strategy for your waiting line. This tactic is not only easy to implement, but spatially efficient for increased sales per square foot.
Merchandising displays can take on all shapes and forms. Try impulse bowls attached right on top of stanchions for a quick and easy addition. Slide modular slatwall or wire grid panels between the stanchions and add pegs and shelving for a flexible option to better present your selection of products. Add end cap displays to increase sales per square foot even more.
To quickly expand the queue during busy periods, roll in a portable gondola and connect it to the end of the queue using the stanchions retractable belt. You’ve instantly increased the length of the queue and added new merchandise as well.
- Pull it all together with signage
The entrance to your waiting line can be easily recognized with a retractable belt stanchion and stanchion sign to signal the “clue to the queue.” Your goal is to create an easy transition from the store floor to the checkout shopping experience. Keep it simple such as “Checkout” or “Enter Here.”
Including marketing and advertising in the queue will take your merchandising to the next level. Integrated signage systems are a great way to leverage your captive audience to boost marketing campaigns, promote cross-sell opportunities, and influence buying decisions. Options can include poster displays, banners, and panel-top “violators.”
Best practices for in-queue merchandising systems
No matter the size of your queue, it’s a good idea to keep the amount of merchandise at checkout balanced. Just as having too little merchandise can be a wasted opportunity, overstuffing your displays can result in an overwhelming environment and no additional impulse sales.
Don’t neglect the outside perimeter of the queue. Although not technically within the queue, its perimeter offers prime merchandising real estate. Paying close attention to the perimeter in your merchandising plan can dramatically increase your sales per square foot.
Finally, keep sight-lines open by using merchandising displays and panels that are 36” to 48” tall. Displays that are too tall create a merchandising tunnel that can make customers feel “boxed-in” and uncomfortable.
Time spent waiting is time that can, and should, be spent shopping. Your customers will be thankful for the continued shopping opportunity and frustration-free waiting experience, while you capitalize on impulse sales for greater overall business success.
About the Author
Perry Kuklin is the Director of Marketing and Business Development for Lavi Industries, a leading provider of public guidance and queue management systems. He has spent the better part of two decades helping businesses solve their most vexing customer flow and crowd control issues.
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