Friday, March 27, 2009

Without A Queue

Here’s a tech idea that falls into the “Why didn’t I think of that?” category. QLess, a start-up company, has developed a technology to free customers from waiting in line at a designated location. For me — and probably others with young, restless kids — restaurants and Walt Disney World immediately come to mind as essential places for this application. And imagine how much more efficient your store could be during the holiday season.

QLess enables customers to call or text their request to be put on a waiting list. The list is seeded with an “initial wait” time, which can be configured appropriately for each vendor. As the list advances, QLess software uses a variety of statistical analysis techniques to “learn” and accurately forecast future wait times. The customer doesn’t need to show up until they receive a text or phone call from the merchant.

QLess is a hosted service that runs on a QLess Web server. Retailers would need only a computer with a Web browser — and customers with cellphones, of course. There is no hardware to buy. QLess provides companies with a local (to the company) or a custom toll-free number that customers would use to interact with the system. You pay a per-customer charge to QLess, and they handle the phone bills.

Sounds simple, right? So, how many days are left between now and the holiday shopping season?

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