Team eCommerce Next interviewed Niels Henrik Sodemann from Queue-it to get more insights on Retail Software. Following is our interview with him:
A lot of ecommerce businesses are facing inventory struggles during the holiday season. Is this something your clients have been seeing? Could you talk a bit about that?
The inventory struggles are real. Even larger retailers we work with have been having issues. What we’ve seen is that more online retailers are experiencing hyped sales that feel like PS5 launches or Nike sneaker drops—and all the challenges those sales entail. Handling surges in traffic, fairly allocating products, and delivering a reliable user experience are all vexing problems to solve well.
What are some of the solutions Queue-it provides to customers to help them manage their struggles?
Queue-it’s virtual waiting room empowers our customers to control online traffic and treat their visitors fairly. They’re able to run sales confidently, no matter the demand. They capture sales, deliver a seamless user experience, ensure fairness, and protect their brand reputation.
In high-demand situations, the virtual waiting room fairly allocates products by using two methods: by sorting visitors with a first-in-first-out order or by randomizing visitors like a raffle. When visitors arrive for a scheduled launch or drop, they’ll see a countdown page. Once the sale starts, these visitors are randomized just like a raffle and put in the waiting room. Visitors who arrive later get a first-come, first-served place in line.
How has COVID impacted your business?
The COVID pandemic pushed many services online, often overnight. 10 years of online commerce growth took place over a mere 3 months. Many more businesses began having issues with high online demand.
At Queue-it, how we’ve seen this play out is a much broader swath of use cases for our virtual waiting room. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve helped support online grocery shopping, face mask sales, brand giveaways, food delivery, home and garden supplies, among others. We’re also proud to have helped governments make their COVID-19 vaccination registrations fairer with a strategic partnership together with Akamai, and ensure relief funds were distributed smoothly, too.
Could you provide examples of how your virtual waiting rooms are relied on by ecommerce businesses? What are the pros of them?
Where Queue-it adds the most value for retailers is particularly with high-demand, limited-supply sales. Think sneaker drops, makeup collection releases, gaming console launches, flash sales.
These online sales bring with them two fundamental problems. First, how do you handle the massive traffic peaks that accompany such sales? It’s incredibly complex to scale for sudden spikes in traffic (we’re talking tens of thousands of visitors in a few minutes). There are bottlenecks in even the most advanced website setups—which is why you see news articles every holiday season on one high-profile after another experiencing website issues.
Is there any aspect of the virtual waiting room market that needs more understanding of just how important they are?
I truly believe the internet has made our world a better and fairer place. But our online world isn’t perfect.
Bots have advantages over regular people purchasing and registering for online goods and services, including online shopping, vaccination registrations, and ticket releases. People with fast internet and proximity to servers can access pages and complete transactions quicker than others. People make a living off reselling items to desperate customers and citizens, and they have more time and resources to dedicate to snatching up high-demand products and services.
Genuine shoppers view shopping bots snapping up most or all available products as incredibly unfair. In the frustrated customer’s eyes, the fault lies with the retailer, not the grinchbot. Plus, scalper bots aren’t valuable lifetime customers. They are in it to flip a couple select items. They couldn’t care less about product bundles.
Are there any ecommerce trends you’re predicting for 2022?
I believe customer experience will be the 2022 battleground for retailers.
Customers’ top priorities when choosing where to shop online—free shipping, competitive prices, and in-stock products, according to a 2021 survey by Digital Commerce—have suddenly become retailers’ top challenges. What are retailers to do when they face rising shipping costs, high inflation rates, and supply chain shortages? When retailers can’t supply goods, they know they need to supply good CX. So it makes sense two-thirds of companies now compete based on customer experience, according to Gartner.
The challenging combination of increased online purchases with limited product inventories means more retailers see the massive traffic peaks typical of exclusive drops and releases. The biggest ecommerce spending shifts reflect this, with huge investments into improvements to retail websites, the infrastructure behind them, and the experiences they give customers.
About Niels Henrik Sodemann
Niels Henrik Sodemann has been CEO & co-founder of Queue-it since its inception in 2010. Prior to Queue-it, he had a track record of growing software companies from a small team to 100+ employee exit. Before his entry into the IT and website performance fields, Niels was a professional yachtsman, holding several championship titles. In his spare time, Niels is still a sportsman at heart and enjoys yachting, skiing, ice hockey and running.
Queue-it is the leading developer of virtual waiting room services to control website and app traffic surges by offloading visitors to a waiting room. Its powerful SaaS platform enables enterprises and governments around the globe to keep their systems online and visitors informed, capturing key sales and online activity on their most business-critical days. The use of Queue-it has ensured online fairness during high-demand campaigns and activities for billions of users worldwide.