Integrated technology helps to reduce in-store queues


Every consumer knows how it feels to be stuck waiting around for a member of staff in store. It’s often one of the defining, negative customer experiences. But if you’ve found yourself in an O2 store or House of Fraser in the past year, you may have already experienced the benefits of Qudini’s new and innovative queue and appointment management system.

Qudini is the brainchild of young duo Imogen Wethered and Fraser Hardy, who initially came up with the idea for mobile solutions to queueing when they first met at an O2 sponsored Hackathon in March 2012. After winning the competition and receiving sponsorship from Telefónica subsidiary BlueVia, the pair became the youngest team ever to become part of the London Wayra cohort – Telefónica’s Latin American and European accelerator. Just nine short months later, the two were setting off to build their company, supported by a solid business plan and an SEIS investment of £150,000.

Qudini is a cloud based digital queue and appointment management system that gives retailers the ability to effectively greet and manage in-store customers requesting service and advice. The technology, which has been designed to be used across multiple platforms, provides a set of tools that range from seeing which staff are available on the shop floor, to identifying and managing the likely duration of each service. Retailers are then able to accurately gauge wait times and refer customers to relevant options through push notifications to their mobile device.

The solution easily integrates with existing technologies, even providing users with the ability to send out notifications to customers via SMS – a clever way to expand their reach through connecting with the 93% of UK adults that own a mobile phone, not just focusing on the smaller proportion of 66% that own a newer smartphone device.

Despite only launching in 2012, Qudini has seen impressive growth. Retail giants House of Fraser and O2 reported significant improvements using the technology, stating substantially reduced queue times and greater customer satisfaction across their stores. Expanding into the hospitality industry, Qudini’s clients include famous restaurant chains, Honest Burgers, Bodeans and artisan baker Princi, all of which have reported positive developments since using the software.

“We are really trying to change the way businesses handle queueing and turning it into a strength. It’s about tailoring a customer’s journey through a store, so a retailer can create new opportunities and better customer interaction,” Niall Smith, Head of Marketing at Qudini told Follow Innovation.

Although Qudini is not the only queue and appointment management system out there, Niall explains their advantage over competitors is down to their “technical agility”. Unlike rival systems, Qudini offers the “ability to rebrand and customise the software to get the look and feel the clients want”; a tool that is especially relevant to businesses where branding is crucial.

Qudini currently operates out of the UK, but after recently becoming the preferred global supplier to Telefónica and sparking interest with a number of retailers in the banking sector and government services, they are set to expand into Spain, Germany and Brazil in the coming months.

Like many startups in the UK scene, the team at Qudini are young and extremely driven and with their powerful technology, strong ethos and expansion already in the works, we have no doubt they are one to watch going forward.