Why Queue Management Systems Are Essential In Retail

January 21, 2022
long queue

There’s no arguing that long queues suck. Nobody likes to wait in line, and there’s something that’s rarely discussed about queues — their huge cost. Research by Adyen found that long queues are among the chief contributors to lost store revenue, costing retailers up to £12 billion each year in sales losses.

In this article, we put a monetary value on long customer queues and waiting times to determine how they impact revenue and customer loyalty. We explore how your business can benefit from a queue management software.

How Long Queues Affect Customer Behavior
long queue

According to a report titled “How Long Does It Take to Lose Your Customer,” the average Brit spends 1 year, 2 weeks, and 1 day of their lives stuck in store queues. The report shows that the longer the average waiting time spent in lines, the shorter the customers’ patience:

  • 25% say they would only wait a maximum of 2 minutes
  • 59% say they would wait no longer than 4 minutes
  • 73% say they would abandon their purchase if they had to wait for more than 5 minutes

Even UK shoppers who are known for their high tolerance when it comes to queues consider 9 minutes long enough to make them reconsider a purchase and leave without buying:

  • 86% of Brits would avoid stores if they perceive the queue to be too long
  • 83% consider fast-moving queues an integral part of the customer experience
  • 76% say that stores should be doing more to reduce waiting times and shorten queues

The impact of slow-moving queues on brand loyalty

The ability to complete a purchase quickly has a significant effect on how customers view a brand. According to a study by EPSON, 56% of consumers say that fast payment and short queues are critical to “positively influencing their perception of a retail brand.” Slow-moving lines not only cause shopper frustration but may also affect brand loyalty:

  • 74% of shoppers will go to a competitor’s store if they perceive a faster queue time
  • 70% of shoppers are less likely to return to the same shop if they had experienced long waits in queues

Poor customer queuing and lost revenue

Queues don’t particularly have a price tag, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t come at a cost to companies. For customers, long queues mean a waste of time. Whereas for companies, it’s all about lost revenue.

Research released by Adyen found that long queues are among the chief contributors to lost store revenue, costing retailers up to £12 billion each year in sales losses:

  • £6.4 billion was lost by retailers to their competitors
  • £5.6 billion lost due to customers leaving 

In short, long waiting times are costing you sales, and you need to do something about it.

What Causes Long Queues?

The simple answer is that there is a mismatch between customer demand and the resources available to serve them, which can cause queues to get longer as demand exceeds resource capacity. The trick is to deeply understand the details behind your operations and the drivers of your queues. The common causes could include:

  • Staff members take breaks at peak traffic hours, reducing capacity just when it matters most
  • Slow internet connections that can add to your average transaction time
  • Staff members focus on tasks like restocking shelves rather than helping customers

It’s a tricky balance to achieve because too few employees on the floor can cause long queues, and too many staff members mean that you could be wasting resources that could be invested elsewhere.

What Is a Queue Management System & How Does It Work?

queue management system

A smart queue management system monitors your queues and alerts you when they get too long. Based on the data from the customer queuing system, you can adjust to minimize the time your customers spend waiting in checkout queues to provide the most effective customer service and increase sales.

Our Ultima AI sensor monitors your queues and detects the number of people waiting in specific queue zones. One or multiple sensors can be used to monitor various queues according to checkout or waiting areas where lines form. 

The data is then sent to the V-Count Business Intelligence Platform as easy-to-understand reports. With our machine learning algorithm, objects like shopping carts or baby carriages are not counted.

The system also notifies your staff when there is a longer than optimal queue length and prompts them to open another cash register. With the help of V-Count’s queue management system, you can ensure that customers have a smooth journey that eliminates abandonment and provides that your customers make a purchase.

Advantages of Using a Smart Queue Management System

Whether you’re a retailer, a supermarket, a shopping mall,  or another business with a physical space, a Queue Management system can accurately calculate the number of customers at your checkout queues and the average time they spend waiting.

Gaining and maintaining consumer loyalty and effectively meeting your customers’ expectations puts your business ahead of its competition. If you aim to provide your customers with a positive experience, then minimizing their waiting time in queues should be a priority for your business. 

Queue measurement systems analyze and improve the flow of visitors and generate significant benefits. Here are the ways your retail business can benefit from queue management:

Customer Satisfaction

No one likes to wait in line. One out of three potential customers will leave your store without purchasing if they have to wait more than five minutes to pay. Your customers value their time, and to create a better experience and obtain loyalty, they must leave your store happy with your checkout experience.

With a proper queue management system, you can measure the time customers spend waiting in line and the percentage that leaves without purchasing (abandonment rate).

With the data obtained from our queue management technology, you will identify the optimum checkout queue length, minimize the waiting time, and keep customers satisfied.

Work Efficiency & Staff Allocation

queue waiting time


Working with a smart queue management system provides invaluable data about customer flows and peak hours. This data could be used to optimize employees’ schedules and improve staff allocations more efficiently according to your customers’ needs.

Allocating your staff according to the data obtained from a queue management solution helps you ensure your customers are content with their shopping experience to eliminate abandonment rates. Shorter checkout queues mean happier customers and more productive staff.

Lower Costs

Your retail queue management solution is a worthy investment that could be utilized as a cost-saving strategy in the long run. Using this system lets you understand the average time spent in queues, enabling you to rethink your queue strategy and staff allocations. You can better allocate resources and workforce and ensure that unnecessary staffing costs are reduced.

Why Choose V-Count’s Queue Management System?

We build our solutions to help businesses like yours manage their physical space in the best possible way. Our Ultima AI sensor and Queue management solution use first-class technology to provide you with accurate and actionable data to minimize your queue waiting times, improve staff allocation, eliminate cart abandonment, and increase customer loyalty.

In a nutshell, proper queue management means that your customers get the service they expect without waiting around. Managing your queues with V-Count’s queue measurement solution means you will be able to allocate your staff to the places where they are needed the most. Most importantly, queue management technology helps keep your customers happy and satisfied when leaving your store.