Financial Data
Updated 19 Apr 2018

4 Tactics to reduce your shop’s queues during the Easter Holidays

The Easter Weekend is coming. Increase your revenue and profit with queueing strategies, and prevent customers from leaving your store empty handed. 

Nicole Crampton, 10 April 2017  Share  0 comments  Print

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The Easter Holidays are coming up and this is traditionally known as a busy shopping period. Experian Footfall: Global shopper trends report says that consumer activity often increases ahead of the festive weekend and continues into the week after. This presents an opportunity for your business to get ahead in earnings but with a higher volume of consumers comes its own challenges – long queues.

Mobile company EE says that in the UK, three quarters of customers will leave without buying anything if they must wait longer than five minutes, which is costing retailers GBP 1billion a year. Having an inefficient queueing system can be causing your store just as much damage, which means it’s time to put some strategies in place.

Related: Spend less time waiting in queues with Qber


In the UK, 59% of shoppers aren’t prepared to wait in a queue at all and 32% will turn to online retailers instead of waiting. Considering how SA’s online shopping increased by 65% between 2015 and 2016, it seems many South African’s are going this route as well. 

Here are four essential ‘queueing tips’ to assist your retail store during the Easter Weekend shopping rush:

Tip 1: Plan for your peak times

If your store has been open for a few years, you’ll know when your peak times were last year, during Easter. You can use this to plan your workforce accurately, ensuring that customer service remains high priority. A reliable retail business intelligence tool can assist you in preparing for peak times.

If you don’t have foot-count information from last year, there is a new heat-mapping solution that will alert your managers to when the tills might become busy. It works by revealing the path most-travelled by customers in store, allowing managers to see where along the path the majority of your customers are. Management can then send more cashiers to tills to keep the queueing to a minimum.

Tip 2: Increase till points

Till -points

During your busy times of year, it’s a good idea to open up more till areas, instead of relying on the one or two fixed points of sale. Mobile POS technology is effective in allowing a new cashier to open up a point of sale when the queue begins to grow.

If you use an alternative payment solution, the cashier can be anywhere in the store with a SnapScan or ‘Tap-and-Go’ counter, allowing for those with smaller purchases to move in and out of the store quickly.

Tip 3: Offer faster transactions

Although there are only so many ways you can reduce the amount of time a customer stands at a transaction point, there are strategies you can implement to move this process along. For example, in Woolworths a repetitive message plays, asking people to have their loyalty cards ready when they get to the cashier, speeding up the amount of time customers spend there.

Another example is the ‘10 items or less’ queues/express lines that exist in grocery stores. These tactics help customers with fewer items to save time in one faster-moving queue. Offering customers an opportunity to make their purchase and leave the store before they become frustrated is essential.

Related: Go above and beyond with your customer service

Tip 4: Alternative strategies to consider

You unfortunately can’t plan for everything and there will be times when your queue is longer than you would like it to be. In these instances, you should create strategies to help the cashiers, and reduce the queue. A few examples include:

  • Have employees check the items and bag them, while the cashier finalises the transaction.
  • According to queueing theory, the one winding line, in which a number is called to send the customer to the next available till, is the best line to create. This is because if there is a delay at one cashier it won’t bring the whole queue to a halt. However, shoppers have a natural aversion to the serpentine line, because it gives the perception that it takes longer.

No matter how much you prepare for a busy long weekend there will be times when nothing seems to be going according to plan. You may have to change your strategies on-the-fly if they aren’t working or if they’re making your queueing situation worse. Prepare for as much as you can, though, and after that just keep a cool head. With a solution-orientated frame of mind, your store will make the Easter Weekend a success.


  • Plan for your peak times, so you know when to have more cashiers and when to have less.
  • Increase your till points over the Easter Weekend to keep up with demand.
  • Incorporate merchant solutions that speed up your transaction times.
  • Consider incorporating alternative payment methods to reduce the number of customers in the queue.
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About the author

Nicole Crampton

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