Nobody likes to queue, especially without knowing how long it will take to get to the end of it. We talked to Bram Vromans, Country Digital Manager & CIO at IKEA Belgium, about his vision of turning such an unpleasant queuing experience into a relevant customer communication touchpoint.
Bram, thanks for taking the time with us today. How did this idea take shape, and what made you specifically turn to Twintag to help you?
Bram: It all started with an article I read in De Tijd during the first COVID lockdown, where Alexander [Twintag’s CEO] explained the potential of QR codes in anonymous contact tracing. At this point, I was already interested in the topic and even though we did not have any specific problem to solve, I decided to reach out to see what Twintag had to offer.
Some weeks or months later, my colleague reached out saying we needed a solution for the increasing waiting lines in front of our stores due to COVID restrictions. We needed a system that would help us calculate the length of the queue and transmit it both online and offline for our customers at home and in the queue to get updated information in real-time. All of that had to be done automatically, without any manual intervention.
At first, we thought about camera installation but that would mean huge hardware and implementation costs, privacy difficulties, etc. Then the idea of using QR codes popped up, and that is when Twintag came along. I immediately contacted Alexander to see whether he and his team were eager to work on a potential solution together. Within one quick design sprint at a reasonable cost, the job was done!
What potential risks did this collaboration with Twintag allow you to avoid?
Bram: The most obvious risk would be customer dissatisfaction and essentially bad customer experience. If we didn’t come up with a solution like Twintag’s, a growing queue of unhappy customers might arise in front of our stores. By allowing customers to check the length of the queue both online and offline, we made sure that they could adjust their plans accordingly and essentially maintain the smooth IKEA experience they value today.
Knowing now how important customers' experience is to IKEA, what was your customers’ response to the initiative?
Bram: Our general feeling was that they seemed to be excited about the gamification built into the process, as we needed to foresee an incentive to have customers scan the QR code. Hence, even though they still needed to wait in line, they appreciated us taking this extra step in making sure they were happy - and for us, it was of course a nice way of reconnecting with them.
What benefits did you see in choosing Twintag and the solution they provided?
Bram: The fact that Twintag is a startup allowed the whole process to be bureaucracy-free, very flexible, and quick. The product prototype was prepared in only one week and communication with the team was always pleasant and timely.
Okay, did you see any room for improvement in the process?
Bram: Well, more on-site presence of the Twintag team would have likely helped in ensuring that the implementation process ran smoother and more traction-free, for example by providing us some troubleshooting hints on the spot. However, considering that our collaboration started during the first COVID lockdown, this was difficult to achieve due to certain restrictions put in place.
Noted! Lastly, what are the main factors you are paying attention to while looking for a digital or technology partner?
Bram: For me, a long-term partnership instead of a short-term deal is the most important aspect of the partnership. I prefer partners who first try to understand who I am, what I need, and then tailor-make solutions that apply specifically to me and what I do.
In short, transparent communication, long-term trust, a pragmatic attitude, and not too much bureaucracy – these are things I look for when it comes to establishing fruitful partnerships.
Thank you, Bram, and we certainly hope to collaborate once again very soon!