Three quarters of Americans less likely to return to a store if they experience long queues


More than 77% of Americans would be less likely to return to a store if they experienced long checkout lines, supporting the perception that consumers who “want it here” expect to get it fast, according to a study by retail technology firm, Omnico Group.

The study looked at how US retailers are currently offering consumer-facing technology to aid retail decision-making and improve the customer experience. It found that after eight minutes, Americans are likely to abandon the checkout line and leave the store with no purchase. Although more patient than their British counterparts, who leave after six minutes, Americans are more likely to never return to that store as a result of the negative experience than their British counterparts.

“Although we have known for some time that retailers who actively focus on preventing abandoned baskets and checkout attrition see compelling benefits to their bottom line, the impact of long lines on longer term customer loyalty is alarming,” said Bill Henry, Omnico Group’s chief executive officer. “The retail landscape is changing as more retailers move to an omni-channel’s approach of embracing mobile POS technology. These are powerful tools to improve the customer experience and retailer performance.”

With 74% of shoppers in the study owning a smartphone, the study also looked at smartphone adoption and how mobile technology is changing shopping behaviour. It found retailers need to bridge the gap between what consumers expect and what can actually be delivered. Similarly, the report picks up on the current big themes of the modern retail debate such as whether to introduce line-busting mobile technology; how to deliver voucher and loyalty programmes using the customers’ smartphone; and whether to embrace show rooming.

The findings also highlighted the high cost to retailers in terms of sales lost thanks to long checkout lines resulting from too few registers and underscored the need for retailers to introduce digital solutions that nurture loyalty. 

“Customers want technology solutions that join up the channels and transform the customer experience,” Henry said. “Omni-channel solutions enable brick and mortar retailers to accelerate their growth in challenging conditions and provide new opportunities to win back customers from pure-play online shops. Retailers that embrace omni-channel technology and offer seamless customer journeys to the shopper have a very bright future.”

A more detailed analysis of these results is available as a whitepaper. Some highlights include:

  • The top three technologies that will improve the average customer’s in-store experience are self-checkout, free Wi-Fi and click and collect (order online, pick up in-store) technology
  • Controlling for price and reward programs are the best to encourage Americans to be loyal customers. Coupons are also well received
  • Millennials, between the ages of 25-34, lead the way in mobile use, particularly when comparing prices and shopping on competitive retailers’ websites while in the store