Social distancing app launched by Thame business

Adactus SmartQ

Thame tech business Adactus, is launching what it says is the UK’s first ever ‘take a ticket’ social distancing SmartQ app to ensure safer and smarter queuing for Oxfordshire consumers and retailers.

Offered free to consumers and with a free four week trial for all Oxfordshire retailers, SmartQ will guarantee less physical queuing for local shoppers along with shorter, safer distancing queues to reduce users’ physical interaction and improve the overall shopping experience in the new Covid-19 world.

The app, which requires just an initial mobile number registration, allows consumers to pick a convenient time to join a ‘queue’ at their local high street or out of town store either via the app, text or from a store staff member at a safe distance.

Once booked, the customer receives a retailer branded ticket on their phone or at the store, with estimated wait time and number of people ahead in the ‘queue’, so they can wait safely at home or in their car. When it’s time to check-in, SmartQ will send a second alert advising them to proceed to the store’s entrance.

Queue times can only be booked for the same day to prevent people block-booking future advance slots, while if consumers have to change plans they can re-release their booked slots by cancelling their ticket at any time.

Scott Muncaster, Managing Director of Adactus, which specialises in booking and reservation systems, said: “Social distancing queues are likely to remain for the foreseeable future and we’ve seen the disruption it’s causing local retailers and customers alike.

“As lockdown eases this disruption is only likely to get worse. For example, without the SmartQ app there is especially a danger in Thame High Street, near our offices, of more people queuing and neighbouring store queues getting in each other’s way, putting safe distancing at risk for consumers.

“We’ve been developing booking systems for major retailers and businesses for more than 19 years, so SmartQ is our way of supporting local businesses and residents at this time to bring a much safer, easier and convenient queuing system to Oxfordshire to prevent long social distancing queues and reduce time spent close to one another when shopping.”

Jayne Cole, Town Clerk, Thame Town Council said: “We are so proud to have Adactus based in Thame. Through SmartQ, they are creatively finding a way to enable our local economy to return in as safe a way as possible – helping to ensure our economy recovers in a way that minimises risk to public health.”

Designed to work compatibly with phones or with a retailer’s manual ticket system, retailers can send ‘reminders’ to customers’ phones to come to the store via the app, set parameters before slots are re-released, allocate priority times for the elderly, vulnerable and NHS workers, identify manually allocated or priority tickets and view individual ticket history for additional data analytics into buying patterns and behaviour.

Scott continues: “SmartQ by Adactus is an inclusive system so any customer can use it whether they own a smart phone or not.  For anyone without the app, retailers can allocate tickets manually and manage these tickets via our mobile interface to alert consumers to come to store either via text or from a safe distance. As a flexible and sustainable queuing system it can also be scaled for use by any retailer, business or organisation during Covid-19 and beyond.”

The SmartQ app will be available free to local residents from 31st  May from the Android and Apple stores in beta version. Scott adds: “Safe distance queuing shouldn’t have to be a terrible experience and with the support of local shoppers and retailers this will ensure its safe, easy and convenient.

“That’s why we’d love feedback on our new app from local residents and retailers.

“With SmartQ free to all Oxfordshire customers and retailers over a long trial period we’re expecting it to be popular among local businesses looking for better, fairer and safer queuing systems.”