Innovation That Matters

Lidl is aiming to help reduce long queuing times outside its shops during the pandemic | Photo source K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

WhatsApp chatbot helps customers find the perfect time to shop


Lidl has launched an online chatbot which informs customers of the quietest time to shop, through WhatsApp

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Spotted: Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, a normal trip to the supermarket has become increasingly difficult, with long queues outdoors and social distancing lines now part of the “norm.” In an attempt to provide a solution for the snaking queues, supermarket chain Lidl has launched a WhatsApp chatbot in Ireland, with which customers can converse, and find the quietest times at their local stores.

Customers simply have to send the chatbot a message on WhatsApp stating the time and day they intend to visit the store. Using real-time data and customer transaction numbers, the chatbot will respond with an automated message notifying the sender if the particular day and time is usually a quiet, average or busy time to shop. The chatbot can also give information on store opening hours. Lidl analysed its shopper behaviour over a couple of weeks to find the quietest times to shop, but warn that the stores will vary slightly.

The chatbot was designed and launched in-house, using customised software created by Lidl. Customers can now access it by visiting on a mobile device.   

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