Strategies to Reduce Wait Time In Retail Stores

Customers despise waiting in line at the store, with over 90% of customers avoiding stores with long lines. Long lines can also have a detrimental effect, forcing employees to work even harder to please clients.

Managers are wondering how to reduce wait times in retail stores, mainly since excessive wait times in business contribute to terrible visitor experiences and an unhealthy work atmosphere. Long wait periods are, therefore, detrimental to both visitors and service providers.

There are a few things you can do to raise awareness in your retail business and create regulations that can significantly improve client wait times and the general working environment for your employees. In this post we will look at tactics you can use to reduce wait times in retail stores.

What are ways to reduce wait times in retail stores?

Customers do not tolerate extended wait times in the competitive retail market. They are only willing to wait 15 minutes before receiving the service. As a result, consider the following ideas to reduce wait times in retail stores:

Increase service speed

Increasing your service speed and capacity is one of the simplest methods to minimize wait times in retail establishments. You may increase service speed and ability at a store by adding additional employees or expanding your floor area.

You may also automate key and frequently used services, allowing your personnel to manage queues and reply to communications with the push of a button, enhancing your productivity.

Make available appointment scheduling 

Making appointments with your customers guarantees they will come to your store on time. This eliminates the need for clients to wait in lines and increases the pace of service because customers receive immediate treatment upon arrival.

Make sure you have a sound queue management system in place, where you can simultaneously serve bookings and walk-ins by centralizing both inside a single platform and delivering the most accurate wait times possible.

Make use of scan-and-go technologies

Customers may effortlessly scan the goods they wish to buy and add them to their basket using Scan & Go software, which is already widespread in retail locations. It saves time for both your employees and guests.

Reduce wait times in retail stores

Author credit: By Betty Longbottom, CC BY-SA 2.0,

They aid in eliminating human interaction by removing the need for clients to wait for extended periods before making a final purchase. Customers may readily review the information about the goods they wish to buy when scanning, saving time in the store.

Put in place a virtual queue management system 

Customers that use virtual waitlist solutions can join a digital line and then wait from anywhere while receiving frequent status updates. Although virtual queues do not eliminate waiting because consumers are still in a line they cannot physically see, they provide them with more freedom while waiting.

It converts empty time spent in a physical line into a busy time when customers are free to do anything they want, making the wait feel shorter or nonexistent. This provides a good experience for clients, among other benefits we will discuss later in the article.

Provide clients with a point of sale (POS) solution

For merchants, the most preferred sophisticated software option is POS software. The POS system allows your personnel to search for scanned products, conclude transactions, receive money, and print receipts rapidly, reducing the likelihood of consumers queuing and waiting for their turn.

You can use it on your smartphone or tablet computer, which means you may add more devices as needed. It also takes up minimal space and requires little effort to maintain and record.

Be truthful about the projected wait time

It’s a good idea to let your consumers know how long they should anticipate waiting. If the projected duration is truly lengthy, inform your consumers. Customers will be patient if they know how long they will have to wait, rather than making them wait, which will annoy and anger them.

Try to make it on time and over-deliver by allowing enough time to maximize your service while keeping it to a minimum. This will give customers the impression that you worked hard to serve them.

Include special stations for complicated processes

Complex operations, such as returns or special orders, might take longer and dramatically impede the queue. Reduce wait times in retail stores by establishing a specific service station for customers who want more assistance, such as refunds or special orders.

Furthermore, you may minimize the number of employees handling easy sales since they are faster to run because clients pick and pay as they go, and add them to lines with complex operations to shorten the wait.

Keep the clients entertained while they wait

Keeping consumers entertained while they wait is critical since it might help keep them calm and pleased. Install monitors in your waiting rooms that play a popular family-friendly film that people equate with happiness.

You may also use this to inform your clients about your other products, inspiring them to make more purchases and increasing your income. All of these things assist in shifting attention away from the lines.

Maintain an efficient queue system

Make sure you have a queuing system that will allow you to move the lines considerably faster and easier by using rules like first in, first out. This will provide a more pleasant queuing experience. You can also impose penalties on people who repeatedly cut the lines, which irritates other consumers.

To avoid this problem, choose a ticket system to automate the procedure. Establish some comfy waiting areas where your clients may wait and utilize their tickets for their turns. This allows you to avoid forming lines and dealing with angry consumers.

Utilize Self-service

Make sure you provide speedy and responsive self-services since they will help your clients to make use of their waiting time. Customers do not like to be frustrated when using this option; thus, it is vital to make it speedier.

Also, have a crew ready to assist clients if the self-service systems fail. You may utilize technology to make the process go more smoothly, but it can never replace the personal touch.

Make sure you train and manage your employees

Training your employees will help them better comprehend your technologies and tools. This can help you reduce various concerns, including reducing wait times in retail stores.

Your retail business must train employees who can control the situation, such as extensive lineups during peak hours, even if things get out of hand. Having such dependable employees may also assist you in dealing with irritated consumers since they can deal with furious customers professionally.

What are the benefits of virtual queuing solutions?

Here are some of the key benefits of using a virtual queue management system:

Increase the number of satisfied and happy consumers

The virtual queuing system informs customers of the length of time they will have to wait. Customers who know how long they will have to wait are more tolerant and satisfied than those who do not know how long they will have to wait.

Improves customer flow

Virtual queuing systems automate a multi-service process, allowing users to switch between services without having to re-queue for each one. Registering customers in the virtual queue provides information about the consumers, allowing your agents to place them into the appropriate lines immediately away to minimize misunderstanding.

Enhance the waiting experience

Virtual queue solutions reduce client wait time by allowing them to use their time in other ways. It will enable consumers to leave the service area to attend to other businesses or to continue shopping without losing their place in line.

Reduced perceived wait time

Virtual queuing systems stabilize perceived wait times and minimize ambiguity by allowing clients to join a virtual queue, register for their place in line, and provide transparency with an expected wait time.

A virtual queuing system also significantly decreases perceived wait times by allowing consumers to relax, shop, or stay at a location of their choosing while waiting for the service.

Increase your sales

Virtual queues reduce the anxiety of long or sluggish lines, which may cause consumers to enter queues sooner than they would want to avoid waiting for an extended amount of time.

Customers are free to wait somewhere else. This increases the likelihood that consumers will continue shopping while waiting to check out, resulting in further purchases.

Increase efficiency

With virtual queuing, you can know what your customer wants to buy or the service they require. You can identify customers’ needs early with virtual queuing registration questions, and the more you know about them, the more efficient you become as you serve them.


Customers have many choices in today’s retail landscape; proper strategies to reduce wait times in retail stores to improve your queuing experience are vital in driving revenue.