4 retail brands prioritizing safety AND experience during Covid-19

Raj Sangha
by Raj Sangha

From creating contactless curbside click and collect services to investing in a virtual queuing system, here are four brands that have managed to prioritize their customer experience alongside safety during the coronavirus outbreak.

The increased demand for innovation, agility and digital transformation is something the retail community is all too familiar with – over the last few years we’ve seen a number of prominent retailers suffer the painful consequences that derive from not adapting to the demands of modern consumers.

But Covid-19 has been the ultimate test. Who can adapt their business offering the fastest? What products or services do customers need now? How you can cater to their needs while stores are closed?

Over the last two months, businesses have battled what has essentially been a logistical nightmare – trying to find the perfect balance between keeping customers and employees safe, and delivering a superior customer experience. Here are five brands that have managed to do both:

1) ASDA and its virtual queues

When the lockdown first started, many stores deemed as essential, such as supermarkets, asked their customers to queue outside their stores in an attempt to ensure social distancing in their stores by limiting the number of customers allowed inside.

But after realising that social distancing protocols would be in place for the foreseeable future, big 4 British supermarket chain, ASDA, decided to invest in a better solution.

Instead of asking their customers to wait in lines outside its stores, ASDA is rolling out a virtual queuing system that allows customers to join queues virtually using their smartphones or through a store host.

Find out how a retail queuing system could benefit your business

ASDA customers are able to scan a QR code on their phone and join a virtual queue to enter stores. Customers receive an onscreen countdown and SMS messages that update them on their queue position and notify them when it’s almost their turn to enter the store.

This approach means ASDA customers can have a better customer experience in which they can wait from the comfort and safety of their cars (keeping them out of the sun, wind or rain), while staying informed throughout.

Read more about ASDA’s virtual queuing system

2) Brown Thomas and its visitor time-slot selection process

Well-known Irish department store retailer, Brown Thomas, which is a part of Selfridges Group, is using appointment booking software and a virtual queuing system to support its in-store social distancing initiatives.

To limit the number of customers in-store and ensure social distancing, Brown Thomas customers can pre-book time-slots to visit stores or for in-store services. Capacity will be counted electronically and reduced to between 33-40%, and there will be screens displaying how many other customers are in the store at any given time.

Find out more about time-slot scheduling

Walk-in shoppers will be facilitated via a virtual queuing system that allows customers to remotely join a queue to enter a store, and receive real-time notifications on wait times and their place in the queue.

Find out more about Brown Thomas’s customer journey during Covid-19

3) Dixons Carphone’s contactless curbside collection service

Electronics retailer, Dixons Carphone, has enabled customers to have an entirely safe and contactless pickup experience that is both efficient and engaging.

Curry’s PC World, which is part of Dixons Carphone, has reopened part of its stores to enable customers to purchase products and collect online orders from the safety of their cars. The retailer is using virtual queuing technology to enable customers arriving at stores to check-in by phone by accessing a weblink in their order confirmation email or through scanning a QR code at the front of the parking bay.

Once checked in to a store, customers will receive their queue position by SMS and a live smartphone countdown view while they wait. A store associate will then locate the customer’s order and drop it into the customer’s car boot, enabling them to drive in and out of the store without getting out of their car.

Read more about Curry’s PC World’s contactless collection

4) O2 and its one-to-one technical support service

Telecoms retailer, O2, is offering customers a safe yet premium queuing experience that ensures social distancing and keeps them informed throughout their experience.

When its stores reopen on the 15th of June, O2’s entire store estate will be using the Qudini virtual queuing system to eliminate physical queues by enabling customers to join a digital queue via a host or smartphone. This allows customers to wait in their cars or in the neighbouring area until they receive an SMS when their turn to see an advisor is nearly due.

Customers will be able to watch their queue position countdown from their phone while they wait. O2 will be offering priority queuing to NHS and care workers to offer them a safe experience that helps them to be seen as quickly as possible.

Find out how Qudini can support your business during Covid-19

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