Customers call for virtual check-in at more NZ supermarkets

By Jessica Tyson

Residents around Aotearoa are calling for a new virtual ‘check-in’ solution to be implemented at more supermarkets around the country.

So far the service is being trialed at New World Kumeu and PAK’nSAVE Royal Oak in a bid to improve customer comfort and safety in response to the Level 4 COVID-19 lockdown.

How it works is that when a customer arrives at a store, instead of queuing they can ‘check in’ via text message to secure a place in line.  They will receive a text reply confirming their place in line, enabling them to wait somewhere else more comfortable such as their car. The customer will then receive a text confirmation from the store when it’s their turn to enter.

Photos of the service have been uploaded to Facebook with people commenting about how they want the service at a supermarket near them.

Facebook user Jan Lavery wrote, “I think all supermarkets need it right now.”

Jenna De Guzman Manalo said, “We need this in PAK’nSAVE Wairau.”

Resident Julia Clement is a customer of PAK’nSAVE Royal Oak and described the text message service as “a winner”.

“Single queue, multi-server system for checkouts. It's only the most efficient way of doing things and I am so glad to see you using it."

Janet Holt said, “Great TXT message service, very fast, shelves full, clean and staff great, sit in your car until you receive a text to go in.”

Residents will be pleased to know that further national rollout of the trial beyond New World Kumeu and PAK’nSAVE Royal Oak will be decided in due course.  

Chief Digital Officer, Foodstuffs North Island Simon Kennedy says the service is great for all customers, but particularly for those who are vulnerable or elderly who can now wait somewhere more comfortable.

“By reserving a virtual spot in line, they can now wait in their car or go for a walk around the block to get some fresh air, Kennedy told Supermarket News.

“New Zealanders are settling into a new normal and we want to improve what we can improve on to make essential shopping just a bit more seamless for them. The virtual check-in solution is convenient, comfortable and offers customers more flexibility.”

The virtual queue solution is in collaboration with NextUp, a collective of people from New Zealand retail and technology companies who have come together to help create solutions to assist New Zealanders during this time. 

Another popular service is How Long is the Line a website with a database that updates in real-time about the length of lines at local supermarkets.