Queues costing retailers over £3500 per day

Long queues could be costing Britain’s retailers as much as £3,581 per day in lost revenue, according to new research by payments service provider Sage Pay.[1]

queuing customers

The research also found that consumers would like to see more of the online experience brought in-store, with queue-less payments and ‘click and collect’ voted amongst the most coveted features by shoppers.

The research identified some key pain-points for customers, where the in-store experience lags behind the convenience consumers have come to expect from shopping online.

Chief amongst these were queues at the till, with an overwhelming majority (73%) identifying them as the most irritating aspect of the in-store experience. This has a significant impact on potential revenues for retailers, with 60% of consumers saying they would only wait a short time before putting items back and leaving, or simply leave immediately if faced with a queue.

In the last month alone, 53% of consumers admitted to having walked out of a store as a result of long waiting times. Only 26% said they would wait it out.

Reinforcing consumer distaste for queues, 56% said the ability to pay instantly was the aspect of the online experience they’d most like to see replicated in-store.

Meanwhile, not being able to buy the product they came in for was also a major source of frustration, with over a third (38%) citing limited stock as an in-store irritation. 39% of businesses also cited this as the most common customer complaint they receive.

At the same time however, Sage Pay’s research revealed an “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” mentality amongst British businesses that is holding them back from exploring newer, more efficient technologies, with 38% saying they saw no need to change or upgrade. An equal number of businesses also cited perceived set-up costs as a barrier to new technology.

“This research brings to light a clear message from the UK’s shoppers,” said Sean Wilson, Managing Director at Sage Pay. “If your business can’t replicate the speed and convenience of online in the face to face experience, they’ll simply take their money elsewhere. If high street retailers really want to take the challenge to their larger online counterparts, they need to be investing in new payments technologies that will allow them to fight the queues, and revolutionise the face to face experience. That’s why we’ve developed Cloud Connect.”

Angelo Alexandrou, Co-Owner and IT Manager at Sage Pay customer, Dermacia, “We took over an old pharmacy in Islington in early 2014. It was in a great location but the existing technology was extremely out of date and insecure. Cloud Connect provided us with a slicker, more technically advanced solution for taking our payments. The ease-of-use has allowed us to be much more self-sufficient as a business. We can make all the changes we need to ourselves, without needing to call in a third party technician or spend lots of time adjusting things on the back end. More importantly, our customers love it. The iPads consume hardly any physical space, they look very slick and they do wonders for our high-tech credentials!”

When it’s time to pay, employees can do it in-situ from anywhere in the store while selecting a preferred delivery method. Over half (56%) of consumers polled said they would love to see the ability to pay without queuing in-store, demonstrating demand for this type of payments technology in-store.

This level of payment sophistication is now available to smaller businesses where once only larger companies took advantage of the technology. Through an easy to set up solution like Cloud Connect, small businesses can use their existing infrastructure and integrate payments across online & offline channels to make better business decisions by giving them a consolidated view of their customers buying habits.


[1] The survey was conducted online among 500 consumers, and 200 shop/retail workers in March 2015 by Redshift Research. Consumers were all UK adults.  The shop/retail workers had to deal directly with customers or manage staff in a business which had a physical presence where transactions with customers take place face-to-face.

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