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How can retailers manage till queues with social distancing the new normal?

April 19, 2021

How can retailers manage till queues with social distancing the new normal? by Becky Viccars

Are pop-up tills and queue-busting technology the answer?

The buzz and excitement for the shops opening on the 12th April was palpable throughout the country, with shoppers forming large queues to get into their favourite stores again. By 5pm on the opening day, high street footfall had nearly doubled from the week before. The early signs are promising with data from Springboard revealing that footfall across all UK destinations was up 101.0% week-on-week, with a 148.4% increase in shopping centres and 130.4% on the high street.

But like 2020, this year has been really tough so far for the high-street marketplace, with retailers reliant on only on-line sales and having to adapt their operations and supply chain to cope with the demands of on-line buying.

But with many retailers not having had the luxury of an on-line operation, the challenge now, once again open, is to maximise revenue and to get as many customers through the tills, as quickly and safely as possible. Some retailers are planning on using extended opening times to maximise sales, with stores opening until 10pm, midnight and some 24 hours. But there is still the challenge of making the shopping experience as seamless as possible for customers, avoiding queues, ensuring that they have the infrastructure in-store to cope with the demand and managing the legal requirements of social distancing. This can be said for both large retail operations and independent stores, with many consumers still choosing to shop in local or independent shops.

Most stores are limited by their size, layout, number of tills and the new measures that have to be implemented to keep both customer and retail staff safe in the current pandemic. It’s not the time to be thinking about a new technology infrastructure, but there are low-cost easy to integrate solutions that could really help to speed up customer check-out and maximise sales in this busy re-opening period and also to maintain the longer-term requirements of the “new normal” of social distancing.

One example is queue busting solutions, by implementing additional mobile till points, retailers can increase the number of customers they can serve. Allowing the retailer to be flexible and agile in store, to manage peaks in trading and ensure customers are served as quickly as possible. They can be “pop-up” till stations that can be easily erected around the stores, or mobile sales staff that can process customer transactions to avoid lengthy queues. Simple, low cost and easy to use, combining a hand-held payment device and portable receipt printer that can integrate into existing store networks.

Toshiba can recommend an off-the shelf queue busting solution that’s perfect for any retail environment. A low cost mobile POS, to maximise the customer through-put in store, improving the customer in-store experience and helping to maintain the necessary social distancing requirements.

We really have no idea when this will end, and even if these new regulations in the retail environment may actually last for many years to come. With portable queue busting, you are future proofed to manage any peaks in trading, whenever you need it.

Consumers will go back to those stores and brands that have served them well previously, so whatever your size of business let us help your beat the queues.

About the Author

Sources: The BBC | SpringboardRetail Week