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Woolworths trials book-to-shop app that shows supermarket queues

ELI GREENBLAT

JULY 15, 2020

The Australian

Woolworths is rolling out a new online shopping tool to help combat spikes in customer traffic in its supermarkets and better manage queues caused by coronavirus restrictions.

For the first time customers will be able to view real-time data of shopping activity, telling them how long queues are to enter supermarkets closest to them.

And in some supermarkets there is even the opportunity to “book” a spot in a queue.

Woolworths first applied for a trade mark for its new technology called Q-Tracker in May, at the height of the first COVID-19 wave. It is now rolling out the application in parts of Melbourne.

It is one of the latest pieces of tech to be used by retailers as they struggle to maintain a smooth flow of customers through their stores, while also sticking to social distancing guidelines.

Q-Tracker uses real-time data to show the length and waiting time of any queues outside stores, with customers able to search their preferred store by postcode or suburb.

Woolworths shoppers will also have access to an overview by store, which shows when entry to the store is busiest throughout the week. The traffic data is updated every five minutes during opening hours.

By going to a link, a shopper will see a menu which says “book your shop”. They can then choose a date and time and book a slot.

The booking functionality is currently only available at the Woolworths Taylors Lake, Hampton Park, South Melbourne and St Helena stores in Victoria. Shopping slots will be available in 15 minute intervals.

In late June Woolworths also started trialling Google Business Messages to make customer care more efficient, particularly during COVID-19. The tool allows customers to search for products and see availability and aisle information at their local store, plus get details about hours and COVID-19 related updates to make shopping easier.

Woolworths director of stores, Robert Moffat, said Q-Tracker will help show customers whether stores have queues because of social distancing, and any waiting time.

“By helping customers plan when and where they shop before they leave home, Q-Tracker makes it easier to avoid busy periods, save time and shop with health and safety in mind.

“Even though most of our stores do not need to implement queuing at the moment, this tool has been developed as another measure to support the safety of our team and customers.”

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