Coronavirus: How queue management app Queminder ensures social distancing
The COVID-19 pandemic has made new words part of our vocabulary, with one standing out: social distancing.
India continues to remain under lockdown with gradual relaxation, but it is imperative that people take protective measures, wear masks, sanitise regularly, and stay away from others.
However, social distancing becomes a problem when people have to stand in long queues while purchasing essentials such as groceries or medicines. Mumbai-based Queminder is trying to solve this problem by helping people book a time slot to visit stores and avoid queues.
Speaking to YourStory, Founder Ankit Jain says the idea came to him during the lockdown when people had to step out for buying essentials. They had to stand in long queues, which made it difficult to maintain social distancing norms.
Ankit, who was working for his family business in the pre-COVID time, launched the Queminder app in mid-April to help people take precautions and stay safe during the pandemic. Ankit developed the app with almost nil investment along with three colleagues from his previous venture.
“We developed a token generation system, which will allow people to book their position in the queue from their home,” Ankit explains.
How does Queminder work?
The basic idea of Queminder is to maintain a digital queue instead of crowding near any store or establishment, Ankit says.
Users can book a time slot and get tokens for visiting nearby stores. The mobile application will notify users when it's their turn to visit the shop, removing the need to stand physically in a queue.
“There is no need for people to go and stand in long queues as they can visit the establishment directly at the time slot they booked, and thus avoid crowds. Users will also be notified when it is their time to visit the stores,” Ankit says.
Queminder has two applications: one allows users to monitor the queue and book their tokens; the second is for businesses to list themselves. Businesses listing themselves on the app can see live users joining and also set a daily limit on the number of users coming in.
Ankit says it’s not just essential stores; other establishments such as parlours, malls, clinics, and pathology labs etc can also list themselves.
Businesses can divide the number of two-hour slots during the time they choose to keep their stores open, and only 20 tokens will be available for one slot. Users need to visit stores and make purchases, depending on their token numbers. This ensures less crowding and maintains social distancing norms.
Of business and more
Ankit explains that the app has around 500 downloads on Android and over 100 downloads on iOS.
“Currently, we have five to six essential store owners in Chembur, Mumbai, on-board. We will soon see more store owners enlisting themselves in the next 10-15 days; many of them are trying to understand the model at present,” Ankit adds.
When asked about marketing and operations, Ankit says he has been visiting local shopkeepers to explain details about the product and how it can help them manage the crowd better. He believes the number of users will grow as more shops and services list themselves.
Speaking about his monetising plans, Ankit says the app service is free so that customers and shopkeepers can understand the product and try it. After demand is created, Queminder aims to opt for a subscription-based model where stores need to pay a fee to enlist themselves.
According to Ankit, store owners will get a one-month free trial, after which they can opt for subscription models at a starting rate of Rs 1,999 per store. Customers booking slots at the stores can, however, use the app for free.
“Paid plans are currently being processed and will be rolled out later. The store owners enlisted with us will be notified about the plans,” Ankit says.
Queminder is currently inviting all big retail players such as D-mart, Big Bazaar, Star Bazaar, and Reliance to try the solution and help customers book tokens online.
Speaking about future plans, Ankit says the startup is looking to scale up operations all over India and on-board more shop owners and other establishments such as hotels, temples, clinics, and hospitals.
Edited by Teja Lele Desai