Mobile waitlist apps boost department store sales

2023.10.23 15:53:01 | 2023.10.23 17:02:41

[Courtesy of Hyundai Department Store]이미지 확대

[Courtesy of Hyundai Department Store]



Major department stores in South Korea, including Lotte and Hyundai, are experiencing a boost in overall sales thanks to the introduction of mobile waitlist apps for popular eateries and pop-up stores. These apps allow customers to register on a waiting list via their smartphones and receive timely notifications when it is their turn to enter a store.

Instead of waiting in line at a restaurant or store, customers can explore the department store instead while keeping track of their position in the line through the app. This not only enhances the shopping experience but also benefits nearby businesses, leading to increased sales.

According to Hyundai Department Store, the dining district in its flagship department store The Hyundai Seoul sees an average of 200 teams of customers waiting to be seated at individual restaurants each day. Popular establishments, like the dim sum restaurant “Haosum” on the underground floor and “Camel Coffee” cafe, which originated in Yeonnam-dong, often see over 400 waiting customers daily.

Hyundai Department Store credits customers who use a waitlist app for boosting sales across the mall. If customers are solely waiting in line in front of a restaurant, it would lead to congestion, but by notifying customers remotely about their entry time, they can spend more time shopping within the department store.

Since the latter half of 2020, Hyundai Department Store has been using the “To Home” mobile app and on-site registrations to manage remote waitlists in the dining areas.

The Hyundai Seoul has implemented the “Now Waiting” system for its popular pop-up stores and regular retail outlets. For instance, the pop-up stores for popular anime series “Slam Dunk,” YouTube channel character Bbangbbang, and YouTuber Danaka’s “Danaka Friends” regularly generate over 1,000 waiting teams, leading to early closure of waitlist registrations. Many of these visitors engage in window shopping and real purchases at nearby stores before their designated entry time.

According to Hyundai Department Store, stores adjacent to popular pop-up stores at The Hyundai Seoul have experienced sales increases of up to seven times that of similar-sized businesses and brands in other locations. This effect is further enhanced due to the concentration of waiting points on the underground first floor.

The underground second floor primarily features young fashion brands and food & beverage outlets and caters to consumers in their 20s and 30s.

Lotte Department Store has also integrated its waitlist system with popular food and beverage (F&B) establishments, revealing that customers who use the system tend to shop for an average of 1 to 4 hours before entering.

Lotte World Mall opened the country’s largest Knotted World (local donut brand) store on its 5th and 6th floors in March 2023, which attracted over 3,000 customers daily and required an average waiting time of more than an hour for the first two months. Customers who registered for the Knotted World waiting system visited nearby stores while they waited and as a result, the entire 5th and 6th floors of the mall saw sales increase by about 1.5 times compared to the same period last year. These floors also host fashion outlets in addition to F&B establishments, and Lotte World Mall’s overall sales in April increased by about 20 percent compared to a year ago.

London Bagel Museum and Blue Bottle Coffee, which opened stores at the department store in August and September 2023 respectively, have also contributed to increased sales in other Lotte World Mall brands via the waiting system. London Bagel Museum requires customers to register for a waiting time of 1 to 4 hours before entering, during which time customers explore neighboring stores. After London Bagel Museum opened in August, sales across Lotte World Mall increased by about 15 percent. Following Blue Bottle Coffee’s opening in September, sales across the mall increased by about 20 percent compared to the previous year.

According to Lotte Department Store, customers in their 20s and 30s accounted for over half of Lotte World Mall’s visitors from January to September 2023. These customers spend an average of 3 to 4 hours in the mall, around an hour longer than the average customer.

By Park Chang-young and Minu Kim

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