Technology News South Africa

Is there a queue? New tool estimates waiting time at supermarkets

Tiendeo, a company specialising in geolocated retail offerings and catalogues, has launched a tool on its platform that allows South African consumers to know the waiting time in queues at the supermarkets closest to them.
Is there a queue? New tool estimates waiting time at supermarkets

The tool, dubbed 'Is there a queue?', integrates the data obtained from Tiendeo's geotracking technology with feedback from actual consumers in supermarkets. In this way, a real-time estimate of waiting times is generated, which allows shoppers to avoid long queues and crowds caused by restrictions during the national lockdown, thus reducing the stress of waiting times and risk of potential infection.

As much of the information is crowd-sourced, socially-responsible consumers who provide feedback are vital to the accuracy of the tool.

According to the company, over 1.25 million South Africans use Tiendo's SA website and app to plan their shopping every month. While the company is headquartered in Spain, it explains that SA is a digital-first and mobile-first culture, but e-commerce only accounts for a very small proportion of sales volume, and so in-store shopping is more vital than in Europe for example, where a culture of e-commerce is already established.

"That is why the 'Is there a queue?' feature is so important: it uses digital channels, to provide real-time geo-localised information that consumers are crying out for: 89% of South Africans say they want to know this, so we adapted our technology," Tiendeo said in a statement.

Alex Hobbs, international strategic director for Tiendeo, commented: “Since the Covid-19 outbreak, our team of 200 has been working constantly on how we can help make the daily life of consumers easier and safer, and simultaneously support retailers to communicate more effectively."

Retail promotions

Tiendeo has also added a special section to its platform to publicise store opening times with direct links to retailers that offer e-commerce.

The company operates in 45 countries affected by the virus and said it's used this experience and the fact it works with major retailers like Carrefour, Walmart and Lidl to create a promotions tool especially for retailers. The tool enables retailers to only promote products that are in-stock in real-time and can be embedded into retailers' own websites and/or the Tiendeo platform where many major South African retail catalogues are hosted on a geo-localised basis.

Hobbs added that if any retailer, or the South African government, wishes to promote public health and safety initiatives, they can do so at no cost on the Tiendeo platform. "We know how serious the threat is and have decided to put people before profit and align our skills and time to doing what we can to help," he said.

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