OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Allow customers to schedule store visits and businesses to offer booking slots for in-store shopping eliminating long wait lines.

Photo of Jaya Gali
0 0

Written by

In Covid-19 times, businesses large and small are under pressure to make necessary changes to comply with appropriate social distancing rules to service customers. Currently, critical businesses like grocery stores are struggling to moderate and manage customer in-store traffic and reduce the number of people actively shopping at any given time in the stores. This is also frustrating to customers who are dealing with long lines to enter stores and equally worried about risking their health if active number of customers in a store is not moderated. 

We expect to see all businesses to feel the pressure to find ways to support these controls when the Shelter-in-Place policies are lifted. Small and large businesses like florists, bakeries, restaurants, nail salons, hair salons, religious sites, grocery and retail stores, department stores etc will need automated ways to moderate store customer volume. Current manual approach cannot scale and costly for businesses and offers poor customer experience and concerns. Also, the volume of customers that can be accepted can change daily or hourly depending on store capacity, number of available associates to service, store hours of operation and busy times. This can become more frustrating to customers and stores as we businesses move to full time operation.  

Our goal is to serve businesses and customers enabling efficient and automated store visit scheduling, by providing a ready to use mobile app for multiple stores accessible by the customers. We want to offer convenience and also support optimization of the scheduling to help businesses effectively manage the store entry to maximize their sales while ensuring Covid-19 compliance.

Features for customers and businesses for first release will include:


0. Register or create login account with the app ( allow FB or Google login option)

1. Ability to look up participating merchants or stores for shopping.

2. Quick view of available shopping or booking slots for the selected store.

3. Ability to book, cancel or update a preferred slot for store visits. 

4. QR code generation for each booked slot. 

4. Alerts on booked slots for store visit. 

5. Allow customer to enter the store using their QR code at the store entrance system offered by the business upon showing up for their available slot window.

6. Rate experience or share feedback with merchant. 


1. Create an account for the business and register the store to offer store visits scheduling. 

2. Allow store administrator to specify days, weeks and months offered for scheduling and slots windows offered and customer capacity for store visits per slot. 

3. Allow administrator to update or cancel slots if there are unexpected circumstances due to Covid-19 issues.  

4. Ability to view customer bookings for store visits.

5. A mobile or iPad QR code scanning page to provide at the entrance for scheduled customers to enter with no touch or manual intervention. 

Extended features in future releases: 

1. Allow large businesses with multiple stores to upload via spreadsheet stores info to reduce manual entry process. This will handled manually by company and automated for self-service by the business through administration tool. 

2. Allow stores to provide promotional deal info when they are booking or looking at stores to visit. This helps both customers and businesses. 

3. Optimization of slots and scheduling based on in-store capacity, number of checkouts to offer maximize the sales opportunity. 

4. Extend the capability for no touch, pre-order, pre-pay and pick up model. In case of very small businesses like farmers market merchants, we want to offer a special service to allow them to upload their products and pricing for pre-ordering. When the customer visits the farmer's market, they will have the order ready at the merchant tent for pick up. 

What is the need are you focusing on?

The challenge we are addressing is long store lines for store entry currently managed by the businesses to ensure social distancing when customers are shopping inside the stores. Our solution will eliminate wait lines for entry, improve customer experience with pre-booking and easy to scan QR codes for store entry with no-touch service. Further, we help businesses with AI intelligent algorithm, allowing optimization of the slots availability and booking options using customer in-store traffic trends, checkouts and outgoing visitor flow, thus reducing cost and manual work for the businesses.  

Which type of submission are you sharing?

  • Identifying a gap that needs to be addressed
  • Sharing a pivot idea your organization is considering or could consider

Describe the business pivot or adaptation in 3-4 sentences.

Our solution helps customers to book a slot for an in-store or any business visit. We will offer a mobile app (ios & android) that customers can download, register and book a slot for a preferred store visit. We are focusing on improved customer experience with easy scheduling for visits, no-touch entry via scannable QR codes when they visits. Businesses can operate their stores with more confidence of not having overloaded customer volume or needing to moderate long waiting customers to enter the stores. Businesses can see high impact with reduced cost and increased store engagement by providing service that helps them adhere to Covid-19 operational standards.

Do you plan to implement this solution?

  • Yes

Describe the impact that this solution will create in the world.

Positive Impact: - Businesses can open stores to customers with confidence knowing they are able to throttle the customer flow based on trends like associates, capacity of the store, inventory flow and Covid-19 distancing guidelines critical to reduce the viral transmission. - Customers can use our mobile app to book at any participating business that is offering slot booking. It elevates customer experience eliminating long wait lines ( currently seen by essential businesses stores) and provides a simple no-touch scannable code for booking and store entry and exit. Our impact is broad and applies to small and large businesses, multi-chain stores, restaurants, schools, small operators and even farmers market businesses. We wish to simplify the experience for both businesses and customers with "quick set up and go" experience in our app. We should see multi-million people being impacted with our service. Timeline to implement will be 1-2 months based on funding and resources

What is the name of your business or organization?

The app will be We are incorporated as Kloutsmart Inc.

What does your business/company do? Whose needs does your business/company address? Who do you serve?

We are a startup Zumcart offering self-checkout mobile app for mid-market retailers. Our site: We serve retailers and direct customers.

What is your profession?

I am a technology & product leader with 20+ years of experience in retail, B2C and B2B solutions and led, IBM and Walmart online solutions.

Where are you located (country)?

United States, San Mateo, CA

Where are you located (region)?

  • North America

What industry is your business/company in?

  • Business/Consulting
  • Entrepreneur/Investor
  • Technology

How many people does your business/company employ?

  • 0-10

How old is your business/company?

  • Less than 1 year old

Which classification describes your organization/business?

  • Business

What kind of stakeholders and partnerships are needed to pursue this solution?

  • Funding- Investment
  • VC funding

Do you need help building partnerships and finding partners?

  • Yes

If Yes to the above, please share 1-2 sentences describing the specific help you desire.

We would like to partner with companies that have pre-established relationships with businesses that seek to open their store fronts for in-store visits. It can include: 1. Large retailers like Safeway, Walmart, Kroger 2. Farmer market associations in the cities. 3. Schools, churches etc that want to control the entry and capacity at any given time.

What do you think are the main barriers to implementing this solution?

Funding is key to successfully launch the service. Adoption is critical -- we would need to ensure the service is free to use by small businesses so they can get most benefit in these hard times. We want to extend to religious locations and other types of visit based locations besides retail businesses so they can get the most value from the service. To get businesses enrollment, we need to do an outreach campaign and effective marketing through right channels and spread the word through city council members and policy makers.

If you are currently working on a pivot, what have you learned so far?

We are still in the early stages of building the app. We want to launch it as a free to use service for especially small businesses to use as they are most concerned about the scheduling and managing the customer visits to their businesses and practicing the covid-19 standards.

Are you aware of any open source efforts, hackathons or other collaborative efforts related to your solution? Are you participating in these efforts?

None that I am aware of at this time. I am not participating in any.

Website URL

Our current website: We are going to set up a new site when the app is ready.


Join the conversation: