Covid-19: Lidl launches chatbox to inform customers of best times to shop

Lidl has launched a WhatsApp chatbox to enable customers to know when stores are at their quietest, thereby helping reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection. Customers can simply send a message to Lidl via the chatbox, informing it of the time and day they intend to visit a store. Lidl will then respond, letting them know whether it is generally a quieter, average, or busier time to visit.

The retailer announced the initiative, which is available to customers in Ireland, via a post on its Linkedin page. The technology could enhance social distancing in its stores by encouraging more customers to avoid busy periods.

Lidl said: “Just send a message with the day and time you intend to visit and it’ll instantly let you know whether that’s a quieter/average/busier time to visit.

“We've analysed our shopper behaviour over the past couple of weeks to find the quietest time to head into store - of course some stores will vary slightly but use the info below to help plan your shop.”

The supermarket has added that this functionality is the first of its kind of any Lidl store in the world, using customised software created by Lidl.

To access the chatbox, customers need to visit on a mobile device. They will then receive a code which has to be captured by pointing their phone at the screen. The code can also be shared with friends and family.

It remains to be seen whether the initiative will be rolled out to Lidl stores in other countries.

Lidl already makes use of chatbox technology to help serve customers. In 2018, it launched a Facebook Messenger chatbot to advise customers on wine choices called Margot.