Kmart trials online queues to flatten website traffic

Burdened with heightened online traffic due to the amount of people now shopping online, Kmart seems to be taking cues from how overseas retailers are handling queues. 

The discount department store has started trialing an online queuing system that purposefully limits the amount of shoppers that can be on its website at a time.

When a shopper attempts to access the site during a time of high traffic volume, they will instead be taken to a ‘waiting room’, be informed that they are in the queue to shop on the website and given an expected wait time. 

Kmart is not limiting shoppers time on the site once they are given access however. 

A screenshot of Kmart’s online queuing system

A Kmart spokesperson told Inside Retail the new measures had been created to minimise the effect the customer journey.

“We have begun a process of improving systems so customer can have minimal interruptions during high peak periods… to ensure our customers have a fair and seamless shopping experience,” the spokesperson said.

“We recognise that this is a new temporary way of online shopping at Kmart to help manage the additional traffic, and so we with to thank our customers for their understanding and feedback.”

The trial comes as more and more shoppers are pushed online by the government-mandated, or self-imposed, closure of many retailers’ physical presence.

According to retail spending figures released on Friday by the ABS online spending made up 6.6 per cent of total turnover in February. This number can be expected to increase in March, due to the escalating number of closures. 

This trend has been observed internationally as well, as the virus spreads through much of the world and impacts businesses globally. 

In Britain, supermarket delivery firm Ocado instituted an online queue to handle the growing number of users wanting to avoid supermarkets. But, with wait times reaching in excess of an hour, customers took to social media to complain about the service. 

Online pharmacy Boots also implemented an online queueing system to “ensure everyone gets what they need”. However, queue times again soared to over an hour as more and more home-bound customers shopped for medicine and essentials. 

Wesfarmers and Kmart have been contacted for comment and clarification, but hadn’t responded in time for publication.

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