Retailers and other service businesses use mobile computers and printers for queue busting to reduce checkout lines and improve customer satisfaction. Previously, we discussed how you can use a mobile queue-busting system to pre-process part of the transaction to save time at the counter. But you can also complete the entire transaction on the spot so customers can bypass the counter completely, as in the following example.
Electronics Boutique, an international video and computer game retailer, implemented a different style of queue-busting application to maximize space in its small, crowded stores. Queues often spilled out of stores during the holiday season, making it difficult for shoppers to reach merchandise. Its queue-busting application provided complete payment processing so customers never had to reach the checkout counter. Electronics Boutique chose Zebra® mobile printers with integrated credit card readers for staff to wear on their belts during peak activity. The printers interfaced by cable to a wireless handheld computer used to scan bar codes on merchandise and to run a mobile POS application.
Customers presented their credit card for payment, and swiped the card through the card reader on the printer. The encrypted information transmitted securely over a wireless LAN to the store transaction processing system for authorization. The system processed authorizations in seconds, and the clerk completed the checkout transaction. After implementing the system, Electronics Boutique processed more customers per hour and saw a corresponding lift in sales. In addition, the retailer benefited by having its employees on the store floor to answer questions, rather than stationed behind a cash register.
Retailers can further improve the return on investment from their mobile transaction systems by using a mobile printer that can also print labels. In this case, the printer supports multiple applications such as shelf labeling, inventory inquiries, and markdown labeling on the retail floor, as well as receiving, inventory counting, and other back-room applications. Mobile transaction systems can also benefit businesses not typically burdened by long queues. This is because the systems save valuable store space, make staff more efficient, and add the convenience of processing bulky items, customer returns, or special promotions with minimal changes to store layout and operations.
Have you tried mobile queue busting in your operations? Have you seen other benefits we haven’t touched upon?
In Mobile Queue Busting #4, we’ll delve further into the type of mobile technology you need for an effective queue-busting system.