Leadership / 04.21.20
Queue-it Supports Communities During COVID-19
You’ve likely seen (or done) it before: camping out overnight to score tickets to a show. It’s not as common anymore as it was back in the day, and most lines are now virtual when a concert or other high-demand event goes on sale. And when they do, Queue-it is often there to help maintain the integrity of the lines and to keep ticketing systems running at peak performance.
Queue-it was founded in 2010 and, while inspired by the online event ticketing industry, its software was first used on a Danish government website to renew hunting licenses. Since that time, the INTIX conference exhibitor and frequent speaker has built a reputation managing massive peak-sale periods for some of entertainment’s biggest events, venues and platforms, including Hamilton, Harry Potter, Infinity Mirrors, Coachella, Madison Square Garden, the Forum, Ticketmaster and AXS.
In recent weeks, CEO and Co-founder Niels Henrik Sodemann says Queue-it has been further expanding its existing client list across online retail, education and the public sector. The company also recently surpassed 10 billion lifetime visitors as websites experience unprecedented demand and consumers change their behavior because of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent press release, the company’s online retail customers had 86% more visitors through Queue-it’s virtual waiting room from April 1-15, 2020, compared with March 1-15, 2020.
“While we have always had many use cases and customers in online retail, especially related to peaks like Black Friday, iPhone releases, limited-edition product launches and collection releases, during the past few weeks, the number of online grocery stores in our customer base started to increase in various international markets as the lockdowns were introduced,” says Sodemann, pointing to examples including U.K. supermarket chains Ocado and Morrisons as well as ShopRite on the U.S. East Coast.
“We also help customers manage online traffic peaks in the government sector,” Sodemann says. “During the past few weeks, we’ve especially experienced a need for our solution when it comes to government relief programs or support programs for businesses, where overwhelming amounts of applications hit their website infrastructure.”
How is Queue-it’s technology helping online retailers and other businesses meet a significant surge in demand during the unprecedented COVID-19 era? INTIX learned this and more in a recent interview.
INTIX: What types of businesses are experiencing the highest surge in demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and how are they adapting?
Sodemann: We’ve seen many businesses being hit by website surges since the beginning of this year, especially online grocery stores and food delivery services, pharmacy suppliers and businesses selling masks online, gardening suppliers’ websites and online coursework. Government relief programs and support programs for businesses [also have] overwhelming [numbers] of applications hitting their website infrastructure. We have noted, too, that several of the top designer brands are preparing to urgently increase their direct-to-consumer channel significantly.
INTIX: How is Queue-it helping these companies and organizations?
Sodemann: During the past few weeks, it’s been more crucial than ever that certain websites don’t fail, so people can do their groceries, apply for support programs or study online, for example.
To remove uncertainty and anxiety from the waiting process, it is very important to keep website visitors informed while they wait.
At Queue-it, we’re guided by the latest queue psychology findings and integrate them into our virtual waiting room solution. By incorporating the core rules of queue psychology, we’ve witnessed that our customers have drastically improved their website visitors’ waiting experience. For example, our customers can share place-in-line and estimated waiting time with their visitors. They can send real-time updates to their visitors — for example sharing if certain products are sold out — and give visitors the option to get an email reminder when it’s their turn in line.
INTIX: What kind of feedback are your clients getting from their customers about virtual queuing?
Sodemann: When ShopRite used Queue-it to cope with e-commerce demand, customers pointed out on social media that the queuing experience was similar to what music and sports fans face when trying to secure in-demand tickets.
Usually the feedback depends on the industry. Our customers in the ticketing industry understand and appreciate our concept immediately, whereas e-commerce customers can be more skeptical. In some cases, there is a negative reaction against wait time. But besides the obvious benefit of keeping the website or app from crashing, there are secondary e-commerce benefits that are sometimes overlooked. For example, higher conversion rates for the users who waited in line.
INTIX: How is virtual queuing helping customers and our communities during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Sodemann: We want to do our part to help flatten the curve of website and app traffic so our customers and our communities can continue to provide their services during these challenging times.
We’ve witnessed many great initiatives taken by online retailers. Crocs, for example, announced a program to donate 10,000 pairs of shoes a day to health care workers fighting against the virus. They had half-a-million people in queue for their “Sharing a Free Pair for Healthcare” campaign following a lot of the same mechanics as a huge ticketing onsale.
The ticketing industry is also contributing greatly, despite being one of hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Ticket2Me has helped to raise more than $230,000, funds that will go toward obtaining personal protective equipment and care/food packs for health workers fighting COVID-19. Their campaign allowed fans to purchase different “ticket” types that translated into donations for these front-liners. We helped them roll out our virtual waiting room to manage the high volume of people wanting to donate to this campaign by buying these donation tickets.
We’ve also seen that venues like The Metropolitan Opera and the National Theatre have contributed by streaming free performances for their patrons. People queued to watch the streams, so we tried to support the community by helping them provide a virtual night at the opera.
INTIX: Have you made any significant changes to your business during COVID-19?
Sodemann: Because of the lockdowns and social distancing measures that have been enforced in the United States, Denmark and many other countries, we’ve taken our business completely online. In the beginning, we did not know how this would pan out, but our team has been doing a fantastic job working together online. All our employees have been working from home for over a month now, and we will try to return to the offices gradually, as safety precautions allow.
We have also introduced a pro bono program for small businesses, nonprofits and NGOs. We know that while even the world’s largest businesses experience downtime from traffic surges, small businesses, NGOs and nonprofits with limited scaling capacity, and small IT teams can find it especially difficult to stay online in the face of overwhelming demand. We want to do our part to help flatten the curve of website and app traffic so small businesses and nonprofit organizations can continue to provide their services during these challenging times.
Besides helping the ticketing community control online traffic peaks, we have always had e-commerce, government and education customers, so we haven’t had to change the way Queue-it works.
As you can imagine, all of our crisis-related implementations have been urgent, so our team has been working around the clock to accommodate everything — while we are all working remotely — but spirits are high, and we are proud that our business can help make a positive impact in this situation.
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Tags: Consumer Behavior , Consumer Preferences , COVID-19 , Coronavirus