Line Busting: How to Make Your Customers Happy [and Get Paid Quicker in 2023]

By: | August 7, 2021 | Tags: , , |

Are you an offline business owner? Then, you should be intrigued by the idea of line busting.

Long checkout lines are one of the biggest problems for retail businesses.

In the age of internet shopping, communication with customers is hard.

It’s hard enough to convince people to come out to the high street instead of ordering things online, so you need to match the convenience and speed of ecommerce.

If people are made to wait in a long checkout line, you can be sure they won’t come back again. But what can you do about it?

line busting

Source – Pixabay CCO License

Line busting is a great strategy that helps to shorten checkout lines and improve the overall customer experience, meaning that you get more repeat customers.

Here’s everything you need to know about line busting and why your business should be using it. 

What Is Line Busting? 

Line busting means taking customers from the main checkout line and getting them to pay in another area of the store.

There are a number of ways to implement this B2C (Business to Consumer) strategy. This guide points out your choices.

Whichever way you choose, the results are always the same: Shorter checkout lines and happier customers.

You may have already experienced line-busting strategies in stores before and many places are implementing things like self-checkout systems to encourage people with small baskets to leave the main checkout line. 

Is Line Busting Right For Your Business?

You might think that line-busting is a no-brainer because it speeds things up and affects purchasing decisions.

However, you do need to dedicate more resources to line busting and create separate payment areas.

If you don’t have enough customers to make a line-busting system worthwhile, you could be wasting resources.

You also need to consider the space you have available to you because you don’t want to use valuable floor space for line busting and leave yourself short on space for displaying stock.

If you have the resources available and there is demand for it, line busting is the right option, but it may not be suitable for very small businesses. 

How To Implement Line Busting

If you want to implement a line-busting system in your retail store, there are a few key elements you need to get right. Firstly, you need to decide where you will take separate payments.

Some stores have a separate smaller checkout for people with one or two items. However, you have more flexibility if you use a mobile payment option like this card reader to take payments anywhere in the store.

The great thing about this is that you can go to the customer and take payment instead of them having to come to you and wait in a checkout line, so the whole process is more streamlined.

Staffing is also a key concern when line busting. If you don’t have enough people to manage the normal checkout line and general customer assistance, you will be stretched too thin. It’s important that you focus on excellent customer service and you don’t let your line busting strategy get in the way of that. 

Online Shopping vs Offline Shopping

Do retailers need to consider line busting or is shopping primarily occuring online where no one need worry about a crowded queue?


Online Shopping

Offline Shopping

1.92 billion digital buyers 

92% of shoppers still buy offline Source of Data

The data for online shopping reflects 2019 research. According to the research, only 8% of consumers buy online. Since 92% still buy offline, businesses need to consider implementing line busting methods.

Line Busting Frequently Asked Question

What is the definition of line busting?

Think of busting a line literally. You are a store owner with a long line. You “bust” the line by having an additional checkout line elsewhere in the store. The additional line results in people checking out quicker.

What does line busting mean?

Line busting means breaking up one line into two lines to speed up the checkout process. Customers are happy they get out of the store faster and don’t have time to rethink their purchases. Therefore, line busting is a win-win for the consumer and the merchant.

What is line busting at Target?

Due to long lines at Target, one line may be broken into two different lines which speed up the check-out process.

Wrapping Up: Line Busting

As long as you get these elements right, your business can benefit from line busting in a big way.  

Readers, please share so offline entrepreneurs discover the concept of line busting and best practices for implementing line busting.

Do you agree with the need in stores for various methods of paying? I know I personally prefer an alternate queue or even self-checkout rather than wait in crowded lines.

Even before the pandemic, the idea of wasting time in checkout lines was annoying. Since the pandemic, alternate places to pay are more of a necessity since our health may depend on not standing in any crowds let alone crowded lines.

I realize stores ask people to stand 6-feet apart, but many shoppers don’t adhere to the requirements.

I look forward to your views in the comments section. As a consumer, don’t you prefer having choices where to checkout?

Authors: Janice Wald and a Contributing Author

This post was made possible by the support of our readers.

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  1. Ryan K Biddulph

    How cool Janice. I’ve not heard this term before. But it makes perfect sense. I experience it quite a bit in New Jersey. 9 million people living in a small state makes for line surges at both high traffic times and less expected, low traffic times. Extra cashiers open lanes and customers seem happy enough as sales increase quickly.


    • Janice Wald

      Hi Ryan,
      I don’t live in New Jersey, yet, I am still happy when cashiers open alternate lines for checking out during high peak times. The term Line Busting was new to me as well.
      Thanks for commenting.

  2. SharlaAnn Matyjanka

    Hi Janice,
    I really wish some of our local big box stores would take note of this. As in hire more cashiers, I am one of those people that refuse to use self check out.
    Love checking out your blog. It’s always a surprise on what I am going to find. Such a nice diverse range of topics to choose from.

    • Janice Wald

      Hi SharlaAnn,
      I admit to doing self-checkout but sporadically and not in years.
      Thank you for the compliment about the diverse range of topics on my blog!

  3. John Ravi

    Janice, I am intrigued by the fact that only 8% are shopping online. I always try to avoid long lines and rush into the queue. This is indeed affecting the revenue of sellers. This is a completely new topic not discussed anywhere else. I am so happy to stumble on your blog. I will check out your other blog posts too.

    • Janice Wald

      Hi John,
      I was also shocked by the statistic. This is the reason I included the source of the offline shopping data in my table. Whether sellers have alternate means of well, selling, definitely affects their revenue.
      I’m glad you feel the information is different than on other blogs.
      Thanks for commenting and for checking out my other posts.

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