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The Guardian article, Does tech mean the end of the line for queuing? (Anne Cassidy, 1 October 2015), suggested that technology is likely to make the British tradition of queueing extinct. The work Localz has been doing, using micro-location and beacons, with businesses like John Lewis and at the Grand National event earlier this year, suggests this is closer than we think.
As the article mentioned, beer and food ordering apps are on the rise. These provide the first step in reducing the wait times for customers. Localz realised that by combining this with beacons and micro-location, the customer experience could be improved even further.
Localz worked with BPL Digital to include beacon triggered alerts in the Grand National Fast Track app, earlier in the year. One of the biggest challenges at the Grand National event is the large numbers of people wanting to be served in a short space of time. The Grand National Fast Track app enabled visitors to order and pay for food and drinks through their smart phone. Visitors could then pick up their drinks from a collection point, removing the need for a slow moving queue. Visitors no longer had to wait while bar staff poured the drinks for each person ahead of them, but could simply pick up their drinks when they were ready. By placing beacons at key points near the entrance to bar areas, Localz was able to prompt visitors with a message, inviting them to use the app. 88% of users said the app improved their race day experience.
As the article in the Guardian noted, retailers have recognised that click and collect services have become mainstream. The challenge in delivering a successful service for retailers, is that for a Click and Collect service to be successful, the online process needs to be user friendly and the collection process needs to be slick.
Localz has been working with John Lewis to improve their Click and Collect process, using micro-location and beacon technology. This is done by placing a beacon near the entrance to the store. When a customer is close to the entrance, a message pops up that allows the customer to decide if he or she wants to pick up their order now. If the customer says "Yes, I want to collect my order now,” a staff member in the store room is notified with the order details. The staff member picks the order and sends it to the collection desk. Meanwhile the customer is directed to the collection counter, in the app on their mobile phone, and by the time the customer arrives at the collection counter, the order is already there. You can view the video of the John Lewis Click and Collect process here. This same process was implemented at Woolworths Australia, and reduced average customer wait times by 50%.
Customers no longer accept that waiting for ages in a queue is part of life. After a long day at work, having to listen to people’s problems in a queue, while all you want to do is quickly collect your parcel and go home can be so frustrating. Businesses have realised that customers have become more time constrained, impatient and expect quick service. At Localz, we believe that micro-location technology is providing the solution that will bring the end of the line for queueing.
But what do you think? Is this the end of queueing? Share your thoughts and experience in the box below.