There’s an unlikely marketing stunt that is becoming increasingly popular in Australia that is combating the decline in retail foottraffic. Interestingly, it’s something that, 20 years ago, probably would have deterred customers. And the best thing is, this tactic can be implemented in your business with some thought and strategic planning; The Queue.
Looking back at the many successful occurrences of ‘The Queue’, the selling point was always the novelty and exclusivity factors. Apple caught on to this tactic many years ago; the concept of the queue is now almost synonymous with their product launches internationally. Recently, several smaller retailers have caught on to this trend and pulled it off successfully, proving that you don’t have to be a huge tech giant to create an anticipatory queue outside your store.
Before the internet came into being, the concept of a queue only had a negative connotation; physical retailing was the only retailing option, and if there was a long queue at a store, it meant that standing in a tiresome line for extended amount of time was the only way you could get your hands on the product or service in question. Nowadays, almost everything is accessible on the internet, so if a long line is generating outside a business, it means the business is providing consumers with something that cannot be accessed and experienced anywhere else—natural curiosity takes hold, and many join the queue just to see what the fuss is about.
The launch of a discount supermarket is not something one would expect customers to camp out overnight for, but incredibly enough, a queue formed outside each of the four initial Aldi stores in SA, the night before their collective opening. The ‘Special Buys’ available only in SA during the store launch perhaps added to the appeal of joining the queue.
For In and Our Burgers, the American burger chain which recently opened a one-day-only pop up store in Sydney’s CBD, the connotations of the brand and the limited supplies of the product were the novelty; they on social media that only 300 burgers will be made. Thousands RSVP’d on Facebook, and a queue began forming outside the pop-up 6 hours before opening time. Wanting to keep to their word, the organisers made 300 wristbands and handed them out to the first 300 in line—the burgers were sold out by 11 30am. While In and Out burgers is known for legendary burgers, the promise of quality food wasn’t what created a line a few blocks long; it was the promise of exclusivity, being one of few to engage in the experience it and then brag about it on social media—and that they did, to the extent that The Queue was the subject of conversation on every newspaper, online news website and radio station in the country that day, providing the brand with exponential exposure.
Many retailers fear social media and the digital world, but I personally think it’s an incredibly powerful marketing tool. Social media has turned everyone with a Facebook or Instagram account into a content creator; suddenly, the everyday consumer is on the search for unique content to post that depicts their lives to be quirky and exciting, content that reflects their personal brand. Yes, social media may be turning us all into narcissists, but from a business perspective, it’s great too for market research and cost-free marketing and business promotion.
Retail newsagents definitely have an upper hand, in the retail sphere—you have affiliations with some of the world’s most well-known brands and suppliers, and you regularly receive the opportunity to stock the launch editions of so many new products which receive tremendous amounts of media exposure, before other retail stores have to opportunity to get on board; that’s the novelty and exclusivity factors sorted.
Will you be giving this tactic a go? How will you be creating a queue? Which industry suppliers will you be contacting for assistance with this?