Merchandising in your checkout queue has the dual potential to increase your profit per square foot AND to keep your customers occupied while they wait, thereby reducing their perceived wait times. These two big wins are only possible with an impulse merchandising strategy that is well-devised.
For our part, Lavi Industries has worked with some of the biggest names in the retail industry to understand what works and what doesn’t when it comes to merchandising in the queue. Here are some of our top “Dos” and “Don’ts”.
1. Do plan your space carefully.
It can be tempting to begin adding merchandising to your existing queue layout without thinking through the full impacts. A merchandised queue requires carefully planning around the width of the aisles, merchandising around the perimeter, plotting customer flow, and much more.
2. Don’t overdo it.
As the saying goes, too much of a good thing is still too much. Finding the right balance of space and merchandise will keep your customers engaged without being overwhelmed.
3. Do make it scalable.
If your business is like most, customer traffic ebbs and flows throughout the day, week, or season. Be prepared for those ebbs and flows by making your queue and your merchandising strategy scalable. Include a retractable belt stanchion “short cut” in your queue that can be opened to shorten the queue during less-busy times. And plan for peak periods to accommodate increased traffic without blocking access to key areas such as the store entrance or high-margin product areas.
4. Don’t forget to mark the entrance.
The entrance and wait point of your checkout line is clear to you, but is it clear to a first-time customer? The addition of merchandising in the checkout queue runs the risk of confusing the waiting line with yet another shopping area. Be sure you have a clear “clue to the queue.” Stanchions provide a universal sign of a queue.
5. Do use the right store fixtures for your checkout queue.
When choosing a merchandising system for your waiting lines, it’s all about having the right fixtures for the job. Look for store fixtures that are the right height (not too tall) and that can be easily reconfigured and angled to any degree to fit any space. This flexibility is of the utmost importance in c-stores, where space is at a premium. Additionally, consider choosing store fixtures that don’t look the same as the other fixtures in your store. You want your checkout queue to look like a waiting line, not like just another aisle of merchandise.
6. Don’t forget to prioritize your best merchandise at the head of the queue.
A common mistake is to front-load merchandise at the entrance to the waiting line only to have customers walk right by on their way to the head of the queue. This is especially true in slower periods where the waiting lines are shorter. Consider your merchandise placement accordingly.
7. Do bring in signage.
Signage can help a merchandised queue in many ways. Firstly, stanchion signs are critical to indicate the queue entrance and the wait point, eliminating customer confusion on where to go. They can also be beneficial in indicating secondary queues such as self-service lines. In-queue signage can also help focus your customers attention on branding, promotions, and marketing campaigns.
8. Don’t create hazardous turns.
Merchandising on the turns is tricky. This is especially true if your customers are pushing carts or strollers through your queue. Leave plenty of room for customers to navigate turns without knocking merchandise off the shelf. Use accessories that shield products from wayward carts and avoid embarrassing and damaging crashes and spills.
9. Do consider the perimeter of the queue.
A well-defined waiting line will have well-defined areas on the outside of the queue that people must walk past or around to get to the start of your line. Typically, at least part of the queue perimeter is adjacent to high-traffic areas. Take advantage of the foot traffic and merchandise (or market with signage) the outside perimeter of the queue.
10. Don’t go too tall.
Don’t let your customers feel like they’re trapped in a tunnel of your products. The merchandise in your queue should be kept to a reasonable height so the average customer can easily see over the top.
Field studies have shown that in-queue merchandising can increase impulse sales at checkout by as much as 400 percent. With careful planning, your customers can leave happier, believing they spent less time in line while having spent more money doing so. Explore NeXtrac store fixtures to create this win-win solution for your business.
Sponsored content by Lavi Industries