Google will add a new option to its Maps app on 23 November: users will then be able to assess how much time they will lose at the cash register.
Customer willing to wait four minutes
Long lines at the cash register are both positive and negative for most stores: they bring in turnover, but the customer is rarely happy to wait. An average shopper is willing to wait four minutes to pay. If it goes on for much longer, we will leave our cart behind, we do not return at that particular time or not at all.
Ahead of the busy December month, Google will add new information to its Maps app: based on crowdsourcing information (in this case, anonymous location information), customers can decide when to go for a quick supermarket visit or when to avoid it altogether.
Google (mostly) targets retailers with this new functionality, because these could benefit from this information to spread their customers across the day. There is also the risk that customers may head to other retailers where the lines are shorter at a certain given time.
Also for restaurants
It is not easy to keep a customer satisfied, even at the cash register. All across the world, stores are trialing calming scents, music and video screens to keep customers happy as they line up to pay. Supermarket chain Carrefour implemented a single-line system in all of its hypermarkets earlier this year: customers line up in a single line before they are directed to the first free cash register. Eight out of ten customers are happy with the system, but competitors Colruyt and Delhaize quickly cancelled similar ideas.
The cash register waiting time will be available on Google Maps on Thanksgiving (23 November 2017). You will not only be able to see average waiting times in supermarkets, but also for restaurants and other hospitality locations.