Britons 'not willing to queue'

January 30, 2012, 9:24 AM GMT+0

Mobile wallet technology could rescue retailers with convenience as many Brits not willing to queue

Research from YouGov shows that consumers’ reluctance to queue means retailers are not only losing almost 21 million potential customers to sell to every year, but some of those customers are potentially lost for good, as they turn elsewhere to purchase goods.

In order to understand the amount of lost transactions attributed to large queues, we conducted a study based on a hypothetical scenario in which consumers were asked questions that involved queuing. Adults on our UK online panel were asked questions to understand if queues restrict retailers from making sales. A further objective of the study was to determine how consumers expect retailers to reduce queue times.

  • The research reveals that 59% of shoppers are not prepared to wait in a queue and faced with one, almost one third of frustrated shoppers would turn to online retailers (32%)
  • While almost one fifth (18%) would go to an alternative shop - creating 20.65 million missed opportunities every year*.

But retail experts at YouGov believe there is hope for struggling shopkeepers, as the latest contactless technology could help to reduce the amount of business they are losing.

When it comes to queues in shops, consumers believe that it’s the shopkeepers that are to blame.

  • In fact, when asked about the factors retailers have control over in relation to queuing, 89% cited not having enough staff members as the cause of queues
  • While 23% named payment methods taking too long as a factor.

Though the majority of respondents blame lack of staff as the cause of the problem, increasing staff costs to manage peak footfall is not a realistic option. Retailers need to look at alternative ways to reduce queues. YouGov believes that one answer lies in contactless technology which has the ability to speed up the payment process. With just under a quarter of consumers attributing queues to slow payment methods, the adoption of the contactless card may be just what retailers need to lure shoppers back into their shops.

Rob Cushen, Retail Consulting Director at YouGov, believes technology has the power to solve some of the retailers’ problems: 'Life is tough for high street retailers at the moment. This research shows that a significant number of shoppers turn their backs on a high street shop if the queues are too long. The problem for traditional bricks and mortar retailers is that these same people will then go online and once there they prefer online specialists like Amazon. This is a huge lost opportunity for the high street. The solution is not to increase the number of staff to handle queues at peak times but the smart use of technology'.

Consumers ready for the mobile wallet

At a time when many people are time-poor, speed and convenience also emerge as clear drivers for shoppers.

  • Asked about the reasons for getting a mobile phone handset capable of contactless payment in YouGov’s quarterly Mobile Wallet survey**,74% cited convenience
  • 63% named speed of payment
  • 59% said it was easier than paying by cash/cards.

Commenting on those less willing to adopt contactless technology, YouGov’s Russell Feldman, Associate Director who manages the Mobile Wallet study said: 'Online banking faced the same challenges that a mobile wallet system faces now, and as with any technology involving personal finances, reassuring customers that the technology is safe and secure, educating them and having systems in place if something does go wrong will be the keys to success. Our research suggests some shoppers are ready to try out mobile wallet payments, so high street retailers have a real opportunity to tackle the queues by adopting contactless technology. The current economic climate could be the catalyst to go contactless: not only keeping customers satisfied as queues are reduced, but allow retailers to compete more effectively with their online counterparts.”'

For more information on YouGov and the Mobile Wallet study please contact YouGov PR Executive, Giovanna Clark or call YouGov on +44(0)20 7012 6069 

Methodology for the queuing study: YouGov interviewed 1,004 respondents between 21st December and 22nd December 2011. All interviews were conducted online with YouGov panellists. The respondents were sampled and weighted to be representative of the online population. Respondents were 18+.

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