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Published: 14 July 2017
Area of Law: Real Estate

To queue or not to queue, that is the question

The Brits are famous for their polite mannerisms and love of queueing. This, however, may be a thing of the past, as the prospect of standing in a line while out shopping may become a distant memory. 

The rationale to the abandonment of the queue is two fold. 

1. Consumers have witnessed a tremendous shake up in recent years with a rise in payment technologies, ranging from mobile wallets to on-demand apps. This has resulted in a new wave of expectations from shoppers who demand a more personalised and interactive shopping experience; and

2. Retailers have seen their margins squeezed as fall in consumer confidence coupled with the devaluation of the pound and rising commodity prices are serious concerns in the current unstable global market. One of the ways in which retailers are looking to deal with these issues and heighten profitability is to remove till points.

How retailers can use this to their advantage

Retailers need to become savvy and install high-tech payment and security systems which not only solve the payment issue but heighten the instore experience and enable them to detect and storage customers’ purchases. This will allow them to identify trends and behaviours, targeting the right customers with special offers and discounts to encourage further spending. 

Brands such as Waitrose and Zara are some of the first to bite the bullet in the UK and make use of new payment and security gadgets which are likely to evolve into fully "queue-less" systems over the coming years. Zara has installed high-tech clothes tags which could eventually be used to let customers scan garments and pay for them using their smartphones. Waitrose has rolled out handheld self-scanning devices in some stores that look and feel like a smartphone, letting customers upload their shopping lists onto the device. 

Whether or not queues will be a thing of the past is yet to be seen. One thing is for certain, the next five years will be a continuing evolving digital landscape for retailers as more power is placed in the hands of shoppers with stores becoming digitally smarter. Retails need to understand the importance of not only utilising technology to benefit the consumer, but use it to their business advantage to save money and maintain profitability: a win-win situation, or digital marketing genius?

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