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Time and Convenience Part III: How Grocery Shopping Changes with Each Generation

Posted by Lorie Fontaine Demski on Feb 7, 2019 5:13:54 PM

It’s not just the age of the shopper that’s changing

There is a lot of discussion about the new generation of shoppers, particularly the millennials who expect their in-store shopping experience to be comparable to their on-line experience.  The findings of FMI’s recently released ‘US Grocery Shopper Trends 2017’[1] further supports this trend and provides some additional insight.  The most significant of these insights is the comfort level millennials appear to have gained in just the past year shopping for groceries on-line.  In 2017, 43 percent of millennials said they shop for groceries on-line; that is compared to 28 percent in 2016.


Time & Convenience Part II: How Grocery Shopping Changes with Each Generation

Posted by Lorie Fontaine Demski on Jul 10, 2017 10:00:00 PM

Are retail executives prepared to do what it takes to adapt?

There is a new generation of shoppers – a generation whose expectations of in-store shopping are based on their on-line shopping experience.  However, a recent study conducted by Capgemini indicates that there is a disconnect between retail executive’s perceptions and that of the shopper; following are some highlights of the study.


Another Customer Service Challenge - Life in the Slow Lane?

Posted by Lorie Fontaine Demski on Mar 28, 2017 9:06:54 AM

A couple of weeks ago, RetailWire posted an excerpt of a study from the University of Herfordshire that recommends grocers establish a slow checkout lane to improve the shopping experience for the elderly. The study found “over 60s” largely desired slow checkout lanes in order to talk to grocery staff. Feedback to this recommendation from people in the retail industry was all over the place. Some said this would be discriminatory and insulting to seniors. Some said you can’t provide a special checkout lane to every group that wants one. Some thought it was a great idea.


Do retailers overspend to deliver their service promises?

Posted by Lorie Fontaine Demski on Oct 29, 2015 12:21:11 PM

Do retailers overspend to deliver their service promises?

How Queue Intelligence can help retailers identify and deliver their service promise

Every other week from now through the end of the year, we’ll be posting a series of articles about queue management and the value it can bring to your business. In this, the second article in the series, we discuss the steps required to determine and deliver on your service promise. 


What does Aldi tell us about queuing?

Posted by Jordan Britchford on Apr 20, 2015 9:43:33 AM

With the recent news that Aldi has overtaken Waitrose as the UK’s sixth largest supermarket, there’s been a lot mentioned in the business press about their business model, the look and feel of the stores and specifically about the product ranges they sell. But, one aspect that’s been largely ignored is also one of the most important, the different queuing experience that Aldi, and other discount supermarkets offer.


Case Study: Tesco deploys Irisys Queue Management to alleviate subjectivity, deliver faster checkout for customers

Posted by Natasha Gingles on May 7, 2014 5:48:00 PM



Case Study: Kroger deploys Irisys Queue Management to achieve faster checkout and higher sales – without adding labor expense

Posted by Natasha Gingles on Apr 29, 2014 6:34:00 PM

The Kroger Co.’s faster checkout initiative was recently ranked No. 3 among the InformationWeek Elite 100 listing of the top business technology innovators in the United States. Kroger’s QueVision technology is powered by Irisys intelligent Queue Management solution. It uses infrared sensors and predictive analytics to arm store front-end managers with real-time data to make sure registers are open with customers need them. 

The solution, across the Kroger family of stores, has reduced the time a customer waits in line to check out, on average, from four minutes before QueVision to less than 30 seconds today. As follows is a case study of the roll-out of the Irisys Queue Management solution across Kroger’s 2,400 locations.


Industry sector: Retail, grocery
Geography: USA
Service solution: Intelligent Queue Management
Project size: Over 2,300 locations


Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, and established in 1883, Kroger is the USA's largest traditional grocery store chain, its second-largest general retailer based on revenue, and the world’s fourth-largest retailer.

Business Issue

A key component to Kroger’s business strategy is a “Customer First” commitment that is central to guiding every strategic decision. As part of this effort, Kroger felt a better checkout service would reward loyal customers and differentiate its service delivery from competing national discount chains and regional grocers.

Kroger decided to move from a 1+2 service commitment (1 customer being served in the checkout with 2 customers waiting in line) to a 1+1 service level (1 customer being served in the checkout and no more than 1 waiting in line).

In deciding this commitment, Kroger also assessed the level of additional cashier labor that would be required in-store to deliver 1+1. At the time, company officials anticipated they would need – and were willing to pay for – more cashiers if it reduced customer wait time at the checkout.


Irisys met with Kroger in 2007 and began trialing the Queue Management solution in 2008 with its IS&S Department to prove the technology. Once the technology’s accuracy and efficacy had been validated, Store Operations engaged in a four-store trial.

Initial results showed that Kroger, using the Irisys Queue Management system, could deliver a required 85% 1+1 service level with existing, already scheduled cashier labor.

To prove the system further, Kroger progressed to a 19-store trial in Toledo, Ohio, in 2009. The results again showed the goal improvement in checkout service could be achieved with Irisys Queue Management system – and, again, without deploying additional checkout labor.

Moreover, the response from customers in Toledo was extremely positive and led to a noticeable improvement in customer satisfaction scores and uplift in sales. Kroger successfully trialed the Queue Management solution in two additional regions. In all of its regional trials, Kroger consistently identified improvements not just at the checkout – but in customer loyalty, shopping frequency, overall customer spend, and significantly increased sales.

While a defined ROI measurement underpinned Kroger’s business justification – i.e. a single capital investment in the Irisys system versus an ongoing revenue investment in additional cashier labor – the real driver behind deploying the Queue Management system was to improve checkout service.

Kroger commenced a rollout to all stores in 2010. The rollout of the system was accompanied by an in-store marketing campaign - advertising a “Faster Checkout at Kroger” – that extended externally via TV, radio, and print. Kroger branded the system internally as QueVision and began publicizing its results in 2013.

Business Benefits

Rodney McMullen, Kroger President and COO commented during Kroger’s 2nd quarter 2012 earnings conference call: “Our market share gains are a result of our investments in all 4 keys of our ‘Customer First’ strategy. People often talk about investments we make in price, but there are many ways we have invested in our non-price keys, people, products and shopping experience, to strengthen our connection with customers in our stores.

“For example, over the last several years, we've set out to improve the shopping experience by reducing customer wait time at checkout,” he said. “Customers have told us they do not like waiting in long lines. Based on that feedback, we developed a solution that has reduced the average amount of time a customer waits in line to check out to about 30 seconds today compared to around 4 minutes in the past. Our customers tell us they noticed the difference, and we are delivering a shopping experience that makes them want to return.”

Getting shoppers through checkout as quickly as possible is key to building customer loyalty and reported by Kroger as one reason earnings were up 9.6% in the three months ending May 25, 2013, compared to the same time a year ago.

Kroger Chairman and CEO Dave Dillon cited “inspired, Customer First service” for strong financial results including earnings of $481 million in the quarter ending May 25 - the 38th consecutive quarter of profits for the retailer’s continuously operating stores.

And Marnette Perry, Senior Vice President of Retail Operations, said: "The technology enabled us to execute at the front of the store without that additional [labor] expense. It's remarkable that we've been able to improve execution as much as we have without a big price tag.”

“Nobody likes to wait in line,” she said. “If we wanted to develop loyalty from our customers, we really had to respect their time and improve the checkout experience.”

Since the technology was deployed, Kroger’s score on customer-satisfaction surveys has improved 42 percent on the speed of checkout, Perry said. “There are 7 million shoppers at Kroger stores today – we’ll save them 25 million minutes today.”

Kroger executives said they learned something surprising from Kroger QueVision data that helped them boost certain orders. The system showed more customers than Kroger realized bought a small number of items in the morning and at lunchtime – and that express lanes would back up.

So Kroger added 2,000 new express lanes to its stores nationwide, which it credits with growing the number of small orders over the last two years. 

And Kroger cites additional benefits besides happier customers. For example, the technology has helped boost sales at smaller urban stores with limited parking space – because customers get in and out faster, they free up parking spaces more quickly.

And though company officials originally anticipated they would need – and were willing to pay for – more cashiers if it shaved customer wait time, the cost of staffing did not rise. Irisys Queue Management technology is so smart, it makes scheduling more efficient.


Download Queue Managment Case Studies


No matter how you say it… we’re No.1

Posted by Natasha Gingles on Mar 31, 2014 8:12:00 PM

The world’s leading retailers trust Irisys technology to manage, improve and maximize their in-store operations.


Big Data: Enhancing Customer Experience in Real Time Builds Brand Loyalty

Posted by Natasha Gingles on Mar 24, 2014 1:15:00 PM

Delivering the ultimate shopper experience increases customer loyalty. And though retailers have personalized customer service for decades, they have primarily been limited to using historical data to make critical in-store decisions.


Make 2014 Count: Industry Group Forecasts 4.1% Retail Industry Growth

Posted by Natasha Gingles on Feb 17, 2014 9:22:00 PM

The National Retail Federation projects U.S. retail industry sales will increase 4.1 percent in 2014.  That growth – higher than last year’s 3.7 percent – presents a timely opportunity retailers can seize to grow and, more importantly, sustain a wider base of loyal customers.


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