From today’s RetailWire.com:
Checkout Time Limit Around Four Minutes
A survey from M/A/R/C Research found that four out of five shoppers are satisfied with wait times at stores in most cases. But it also found that 10 percent were exasperated enough to leave a checkout line if the wait becomes too lengthy.
The online survey of 13,000 customers conducted in April found that customers are satisfied (79 percent extremely/very satisfied) with an average wait time of about four minutes or less. The only exception is for club stores, where an average wait time slightly over four minutes was deemed still acceptable by those surveyed. After four minutes, the satisfaction levels drop considerably across seven other channels: grocery, consumer electronics, department, drug, home improvement, mass merchandisers, and office supply stores.
Among these channels, satisfaction levels are lowest for club stores and mass merchandisers because their wait times are well above the four-minute threshold. Among retailers, Lowe's, Publix, Best Buy, Target, Longs Drugs, Staples, B.J.'s Wholesale Club, and Kohl's received the highest satisfaction ratings in their respective categories for the checkout times.
According to the study, 43 percent of consumers said long lines would affect their decision to shop a particular retailer in the future. Out of those consumers:
* 21 percent said they would avoid the store if they knew the checkout lines would be long at the time;
* 19 percent said they would only go to the store to pick up specific items they couldn't find at other stores;
* Three percent said they would stop going to the store all together.
M/A/R/C Research said checkout time plays a key role in conversion rate, which averaged 75 percent across channels for April 2008.
"Retailers really have to focus on keeping their wait times under 4 minutes with the negative impact of even one minute more," said Tony Amador, senior vice president at M/A/R/C Research, in a press release. The overall results were similar to a M/A/R/C Research survey conducted in April 2007.
What’s the average amount of time a customer waits to pay for their purchase in your store? If you're not sure, grab a stop watch, a pad of paper, and a pen, and park yourself in an inconspicuous place near your checkout counter(s). Time the amount of time spent waiting on line. If it averages over four minutes, be aware that the average customer's perception of your store is probably not as good as you'd like it to be. Set a new goal and strive to move customers through the checkout process more quickly -- of course, with the excellent care they've come to expect from your store!