Richard Larson, a professor who studies queuing theory at MIT, estimates that people often spend up to an entire year or two of their lives waiting in line.
With 51% of Americans preferring to shop online and the ecommerce industry growing 23% year-over-year, waiting outside a physical store is no longer essential to deal hunting, as most stores are offering the same products and prices (or even better ones) on their websites.
This, accompanied by a population who wants to skip the in-store craziness to buy online, is bound to create lines online.
Virtual waiting rooms and how online retailers use them
Retailers are always looking for ways to make their customer’s shopping experience as smooth as possible. In order to do that, online retailers have recently adopted some novel solutions to improve their online business- one of them being virtual waiting rooms.
Virtual waiting rooms help control website overload during extreme traffic peaks, like during a holiday sale or a big campaign day, by offloading eager customers into a digital queue, and eventually allowing them full access to an online store to make their purchase without any worries.
This solution acts as a great safeguard to third party components on the website, that may not be working as intended, or a failing database that creates a need for a quick safety net.
Making the online wait worthwhile
Numerous studies show that how people feel when they wait in line often matters a lot more than the actual duration of the wait. Uncertain waits feel longer than finite waits, and unexplained waits feel longer than explained waits. Thus, keeping people engaged and occupied while waiting in line online is paramount.
You may also come across retailers using virtual waiting rooms to share new promotional videos, or some other sort of content to help pass the time. These tactics will help to keep you informed and engaged during your wait.
What to communicate about your wait
Your time is valuable. As we all know, time spent waiting in line can feel like a waste if you don’t experience an informed wait, and you’re more likely to stay if you know why you’re waiting and for how long you can anticipate to be in that virtual waiting room for. We conducted a recent study that found 80% of shoppers who had to wait in line online stayed on the site for up to one hour, as long as they were fully informed about their wait. By communicating this info, people are instantly relieved of any uncertainty and anxiety they may have. In turn, they’ll likely become more trusting of that particular retailer and more inclined to shop there again.
With every new shopping season comes unique new advances in ecommerce technology. This year’s batch brings about virtual waiting rooms that will help keep you informed and happy during your online shopping.