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Retail Checkout Foes: Balking, Jockeying & Reneging, Oh My!

Retail Checkout Foes: Balking, Jockeying & Reneging, Oh My!

QuikLine Queue Management

Yellow Brick Road to Retail Checkout Registers

The retail checkout line is somewhat like a retailer’s yellow brick road. But instead of gleefully skipping down to the register, customers often face challenges progressing through. Typically, there are no lions, tigers or bears (we hope!) but three other obstacles may hinder customers’ ability to get to the register: balking, jockeying & reneging.

Let’s take a look at these retail checkout foes and discuss ways retailers can minimize customer frustration.

Balking the Retail Checkout Line

When a customer balks a line, it means they choose not to enter the line at all. Numerous factors play into why customers balk, whether the line appears too long or the perceived wait time seems like a total waste of time.

To better appeal to customers, lines need to look manageable in terms of speed and efficiency. One of the best ways to mitigate customers balking is to clearly show them that the line looks fair. They don’t want to guess if they’ve chosen the “right” line! Technology can give them peace of mind that they’re waiting in the best line. Our queue management solution, QuikLine, utilizes overhead displays that inform customers of the checkout line progress in real-time. This is proven to give a sense of ease to the customer, bringing them closer to their purchase rather than avoiding it all together.

Jockeying Retail Checkout Lines

QuikLine Queue Management System

QuikLine Queue Management System keeps retail checkout lines moving faster.

Customers who move from one line to the next are jockeying. This usually occurs when a customer believes they’re in a slower line and moving elsewhere will check them out sooner. The key to mitigating jockeying is to shorten wait times all together.

As we’ve previously revealed, there are multiple line configurations that retailers can employ. You might assume a single line with multiple checkout points would be the fastest, but this may increase the chance of balking if the single line configuration looks too long. Sometimes, the fastest setup is parallel lines, where each register has its own dedicated line. By incorporating parallel lines with QuikLine, customers can see their options right away and select the line they perceive to have the shortest wait time. QuikLine handles multi-line configurations seamlessly and can be changed based upon demand. This ensures that every customer has access to the fastest line possible.

Reneging the Checkout Line Altogether

If a customer is already in line, then decides to leave and forego the checkout entirely, this is called reneging. Customers might leave a line for multiple reasons. Maybe the line isn’t moving as swiftly as they’d like, or someone budged in front of them. Whatever the reason, it’s a lost sale for the retailer and something that can be proactively remedied.

Many stores limit reneging by making the line more experiential. This is one of the reasons why checkout areas often have point of purchase products that give customers the opportunity to browse while they wait. QuikLine’s overhead displays also offer a solution, allowing retailers to show video, images or messaging. From promoting in-store specials and products to reinforcing COVID-19 physical distancing and safety measures, QuikLine not only speeds up real and perceived wait times, it becomes a marketing mechanism for captivating content that maintains the customer’s attention.

Happier Customers on the Retail Yellow Brick Road

By proactively limiting balking, jockeying and reneging, retailers not only have the ability to increase sales, but keep customers happier on their purchasing journey as well. And as the Tin Man once said: “Happiness is the best thing in the world.”

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