High street retailers could lose out on significant sales this Christmas due to long queuing times, according to new research by Ingenico, the world leader in payment solutions.
Whilst customer queuing times have decreased significantly over recent years with the advances in electronic payment systems and self-service checkouts, Christmas queues are still a challenge for retailers. The research reveals that seven in ten (71%) shoppers were dissuaded from entering shops last Christmas due to the long queues inside. Almost six in ten (60%) admitted that stress levels spiralled while Christmas shopping, with almost half of those polled citing Christmas queues as the biggest source of frustration.
The Christmas retail season is notoriously busier than other times of the year, due to the increased footfall in stores, and this is reflected in consumer queuing times. On average, shoppers expect to queue for around six minutes during the Christmas shopping season compared to less than four minutes at other times of the year. Nearly three in ten shoppers would expect to spend around 10 minutes or more queuing in a store at Christmas time.
With only 8% of people doing all of their Christmas shopping online, it’s clear most people still prefer to hit the high street over the festive period.
With the Christmas rush showing no signs of abating, retailers are constantly looking at ways to enhance their current POS system with the latest technology to help reduce queuing time and increase their profitability. Contactless technology is estimated by Mastercard to cut queuing times between 15% - 20% and many well known high street names are already accepting such payment. In the run up to the London 2012 Olympics, contactless payments are being introduced on London’s 8,000 buses and by the end of 2012, the underground, overground and trams are all expected to take contactless payments.
A number of retailers are already looking at other queue-busting measures such as handheld mobile payment terminals, like Ingenico’s iSMP. It allows store staff the flexibility to take payment anywhere in the store, helping customers avoid queuing at the fixed till points.
Commenting on the research, Craig Doyle, Managing Director for UK and Northern Europe, Ingenico, said: