LocalQueue is a Digital Marketplace - a suite of a Consumer Application and a Vendor Application. The former enables consumers to search for vendors and join virtual Queues to their services from the safety and comfort of their homes, while the latter empowers businesses by allowing them to create and manage these virtual queues, thus adapting their businesses to consumer needs and getting access to greater opportunity to expand and thrive.
☑️ Inspiration and The Problem
While visiting the Barber’s on a sunny afternoon a few months ago, it finally occurred to me that the only reason I keep delaying the chore is the_ queue _which I inevitably find every single time. This problem in fact is not just limited to salons, but grips almost every shop and market - and is detrimental to not just the customer but also to the seller. I conducted a survey of over two hundred people to testify this claim and the results were in full agreement - around 60% of people are regular customers at local vendors largely for better prices, accessibility, and reliability but over half of them encounter queues often and report waiting times spanning from 15 to 45 minutes (38%) and even longer (20%) - causing 53% people to delay the appointment and 18% to cancel it. Among the small businesses I surveyed, over 51% have reported unexpected waiting times, and unorganized shopping processes which according to 60% of vendors have caused dissatisfaction due to inconvenience, amounting to a loss in business. COVID-19 has only worsened this situation for over 56% of the small businesses.
My solution to this is LocalQueue - an open and free virtual marketplace powered by a transparent and agile process. The ‘LocalQueue Consumer’ application enables consumers to look for products and services in their locality, compare them, and join queues from the convenience and safety of their homes - only to step out when it's their turn. ‘LocalQueue Vendor’ opens up new doors for vendors who are facing difficulty in acquiring customers by allowing them to broadcast their services and products and compete with similar sellers to mark themselves in the market on equal footing - all through the simplicity of their smartphone. Apart from being an easy-to-use and highly affordable tool, LocalQueue takes it a step further and also fulfills their operational needs through the included Queue and Customer Management System.
☑️ Social Value and COVID-19 Response
My project caters to a wide spectrum of social difficulties. On one hand, LocalQueue is helping citizens resume their normal lives with lesser fear and greater reliability, by transitioning them back into usual buying activity, while on the other hand, LocalQueue is giving a hand to small businesses who have found it difficult to acquire customers due to lack of resources. The high cost of marketing and management services is a major reason behind the limited growth of small businesses. While established businesses could swiftly move to digital systems to reach out to customers, small businesses have found it difficult to survive this gap amidst lockdown. LocalQueue is so affordable that it can bridge this disparity and land these people who need support, on the same footing as their flourishing counterparts. Allowing them to acclimatize to the new times and advancing their growth is one of my main agendas.
LocalQueue stands out from all its competitors through significant foundational advantages in its entire operation. Unlike competitors such as WaveTech, QMinder, BevQ, and Attractions.io, LocalQueue is
a Virtual Marketplace which revolves around discoverability and options
simple-to-use and can be managed by a single non-technical person without having to worry about hosting, deployment, etc. This intelligible interface can be accessed on a wide variety of software platforms and devices.
dramatically more affordable for vendors while being completely free for consumers.
generalizable to the requirements of almost every business
☑️ Technical Details and Features
LocalQueue is built over a powerful and robust stack of modern development tools. LocalQueue’s sleek and stable platform has been developed for Web, Android, Desktop as well as iOS users - while the backend has been built for reliability and scalability.
Secure Login - Geo-tagging and two-way authentication for Vendors
Low Latency - performs even in slow networks to serve users in every part of the world
Two-Way Credibility - Immutable queues that require the permission of both the Vendor and the Customer to proceed, and intuitive feedback loop, to encourage a healthy operation of businesses
Smart Search and Discovery - Effectively a virtual marketplace, LocalQueue is packed with an extensive AI-powered search, filters, and intuitive maps to ensure that users find the vendor they are truly looking for
Scalable - Built on a technology stack that can already handle large volumes of users the platform, and can be scaled easily by procuring additional computational resources in a few clicks
Advertisements and Analytics - Targeted Advertisements to help businesses in reaching customers better, and an Analytics dashboard to facilitate easy overviewing of sales, check-ins, feedback, and impact
Ease of Access - Simple, lucid, and clutter-free interface to make queuing accessible and allow efficient use of the platform; live-chat support for vendors to assist them as they navigate through the application
Comprehensive and Coherent - Detailed descriptions for vendors to communicate effectively and transparently with consumers - with tags for the price, discount, service category, estimated duration, queue length, waiting time, and feedback
In-App Payments- Seamless in-app payments for consumers wishing to digitally pay vendors directly, without any commission to LocalQueue
Scheduler - Advance Bookings on selected services for premium consumers, along with a scheduler to manage current and upcoming queues, and to configure recurring queues
QR Codes - Consumers can scan QR codes to join queues, while vendors can scan QR codes to identify and check-in customers!
☑️ Market Validation
After studying the market extensively, I am certain that LocalQueue has a huge potential in the market, given the facts that
Over 28% of the Indian population is middle-class and is highly dependent on around 70 million local shops for daily needs - spending ₹150 Crore every day in local markets
average foot-traffic in a typical departmental store varies from 50 to 500 people daily
While India has maximum outlets per person (7 per head), the per capita retail space is one of the lowest (2 square feet) The prospects are so large that enrolling even 0.01% of the vendors can help LocalQueue build up a turnout of at least ₹ 20 Million within a year.
In order to validate LocalQueue’s customers’ needs, I conducted a series of surveys in which almost 76% of the people surveyed signed up for early access to both the consumers’ and vendors’ applications. I have received a positive response from my early users, of which, around 54% of vendors reported a rise in sales, 78% of users recommended LocalQueue to friends, and 39% of people rated LocalQueue 5/5 at solving the mentioned issues.
☑️ Revenue Model
LocalQueue works on a recurring revenue model based on a periodic (monthly/quarterly) subscription plan for its services to the Vendors.
The planned price for the vendors’ subscription is Rs. 399/month (around $6), which would include all the services mentioned before.
I plan to introduce targeted advertising on the platform to allow vendors to reach more customers. This will be charged on a per-customer basis.
I am also working on a Premium Membership for customers who wish to use exclusive features like scheduling and advance bookings.
☑️ Current Progress
After working vigorously, I put together a fully functional MVP which is already available on the Google Playstore (LocalQueue on Google Play and LocalQueue Vendor on Google Play) and as a web application (localqueue.in and vendor.localqueue.in) - and is under rigorous Alpha- and Beta-testing.
Apart from this, I
Conducted online surveys to study the essentiality and decide the targets of my product
Created social media accounts to reach out to people and showcase LocalQueue
Researched existing competitors and alternatives I am currently making constant enhancements in the prototype using the feedback from the users who are testing LocalQueue - and, adding new features and enhancing the interface is a top priority at the moment.
LocalQueue has also been offered Pre-incubation by AGBI which has been working in collaboration with the Government of India’s NITI Ayog and AIM.