Bicester Village creates social distancing app to avoid queues
Value Retail’s Bicester Village is working on an app that enables stores to operate with social distancing without asking shoppers to queue.
The outlet shopping centre is expected to reopen on 15 June after months of inactivity due to the Covid-19 crisis.
James Lambert, deputy chairman of Value Retail, hopes the destination will once again become an attraction for bargain shoppers.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, he outlined some of the measures Bicester Village is taking to reopen safely. This includes an app, available in multiple languages, that will notify customers when a store has a safe number of visitors inside.
“This app removes the need to queue,” he said.
“Queuing is a dismal experience. We Brits are supposed to like it, but we don't really. What happens is that you scan a QR code on the shop front with the camera on your smartphone.
“You get a text confirmation – it is multi-lingual – then you can wander around until it is your entry time. It is rather like the old fashioned numbers they would give out at the deli counter, where you took a ticket and they would shout out your number when it was your turn.”
Guests will be subject to temperature checks on arrival and there will be marshalls in the car park to ensure shoppers can keep a safe distance from other people. Additionally, restaurants such as Café Wolseley and Farmshop will be open for takeaway only.
The outlet mall, which attracted more than 7 million visitors last year, is also preparing to face an influx of inventory. With retailers unable to use stores to move stock for more than two months, customers could be in for a treat in the form of a massive pile of designer bargains.
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