Scan, Pay, & Go
Currently, high street brands in the UK believe that launching their own mobile app will improve their shopping experience and bring in more loyal customers. While the theory is correct, it is not practical. Users do not like downloading hundreds of apps on their phone just to be able to enjoy the smooth online-style shopping experience at every store on the high street. Enters Planckly, a company offering all shops on the high street (from large stores to Big Issue sellers, buskers, and charities) to join as a one-stop platform and make it a lot easier for the users to effortlessly enjoy a similar experience at every store. With products planned in IoT, voice, wearable batteries, and smart shopping trolleys, Planckly is aiming to help high street shops start the digital transformation and become future proof before it is too late.
Everyone agrees that shopping can be laborious at times. We hate the long queues that makes us wait for ages while everyone takes things out of their baskets or trolleys puts them on a conveyor and then puts them in bags and back in the trolley or basket. Planckly is an app made by TechWisely Ltd., a London-based startup, to tackle this annoying occurrences while shopping. It’s a self-checkout mobile application which allows customers to scan for an item, pay for it on the phone, and leave the store without going to a checkout point. It also offers customers to click & collect their grocery from local convenient shops. Besides offering better shopping experience, it allows retailers to attract customers for repeat purchase and increases impulse buying by showing suggested products in the app ascertained with the help of the Artificial Intelligence algorithms integrated into the application. The broad set of behavioral data the app collects can also be used to tailor discounts and rewards for the user. As of now, the app has been introduced in Singapore, Cambodia, Dubai, Bahrain, UK, and the US. At present, the team behind this innovative app are running test implementations at two large retailers in Dubai and UK.
The beginning of Planckly
The Founder of TechWisely, Uzair Siddiqui was studying at the University College London when he got heavily inspired by the slogan of their engineering department, ‘Change the world’. One weekend, he had to stand in line at a local supermarket for over 10 minutes just to buy some quick bread and eggs. This was the tipping point to start developing a solution that can make shopping better. Inspiration of the solution came from the online shopping experience provided by Amazon which was and is loved by many.
Following this, Uzair and his brother, Shamail, got the initial prototype ready with some help from a friend from their home town in Karachi, Pakistan. Since then, they have got their friends and family to invest around £100K and have scaled up the prototype by building an in-house team of highly skilled developers and designers in the UK and Pakistan.
A futuristic leader driving the wave
As an electronic engineer, Uzair chose the path of entrepreneurship to be able to make an impact on the society. As an entrepreneur he is keen to help the underprivileged. With one idea at a time and one step at a time, he believes he can make the world much more inclusive and a better place for all. Planckly is the first step towards that direction, as it not only helps bust queue while shopping or ordering food, it enables buskers and charities to receive high street donations through people’s phones – all done simply from the same app Planckly. Another unique feature of Planckly is that user can add a donation to a charity of their choice each time they pay for their shopping.
Uzair has a broader vision than just Planckly and has other projects being cooked up that can create a better ecosystem for us to live in. One such app helps find interesting activities to keep fit and healthy or another full blown dedicated charity donation app that brings in celebrities and donors together to raise money all the while having some fun! Uzair believes that the tech industry can do more good than harm for the future and create new markets and opportunities for the younger generation to be inspired to continue doing well for the earth, environment, animals, humans, and robots!
Making shopping experience super-fast and super-efficient
Planckly works differently in different use cases. Broadly, it works very well for click & collect, in-store shopping using a phone and can also be used to order delivery. In a retail scenario, it brings the online shopping experience of large online stores like Amazon to the high street retail store. Because it’s a platform, it also brings in the joy of personalization like Facebook or Google to create personalized advertisements, discounts and rewards.
Customers entering a shop can ‘identify the store’ using NFC, a QR code or a Bluetooth system. They then pick up the items they like and ‘scan their barcode’ using their mobile phone’s camera or browse the items from the shop’s inventory on the app. Once they are happy with the basket, they ‘pay on their phone’ and leave the store. As an optional step, the shopkeeper can request to a customer to ‘send their shopping list’ to the staff’s phone ‘using a QR code’ and the staff can then scan a sample of their items in their bag using his own phone on a random basis to ensure most have been paid for. This works in deterring shoplifting.
For restaurants and coffee shops the click & collect or pay-at-the-table works best as users can place an order while on their way to the shop and just collect the food or order from the table using their phone and pay with their phone.
Helping retailers getting ready for the future
Uzair believes after Amazon buying whole foods and launching complete cashier-free stores as ‘Amazon Go’ in the US, the high street retail sector has been very afraid of the future. Many brick and mortar stores have now closed completely or have just adopted the online delivery model. “Just this year, the concept of Scan Pay and Go in-store has been adopted by another major tier-1 grocery store in the UK, ‘Sainsbury’s’ which provides further validation of our concept and pushes the independent and tier 2 retailers to join us as a platform in order to compete with the larger players on a level playing field”, Uzair asserts. “We are helping the high street get ready for the future where customer demands are becoming increasingly challenging thanks to the near perfect online shopping experience,” he continues.
Continuing to adapt new technologies while staying true to the core
One of the moments when the team felt their hard work is starting to pay off is when they won the startup pod at Project Kairos at TechXlr8, which happened in June 2018 at ExCel London. During that 3-day event, they not only met lots of investors and retailers who gave positive feedback but also managed to win the best pitch award from the Retail Tech Category. Planckly was also included in Top 10 UK Retail Tech Start-ups by TechAdvocates London.
Going ahead, Planckly is not simply about ‘scan pay go’ in-store. Planckly is looking forward to making the complete high street experience modern, fun, and encouraging so that people don’t forget the outdoors. “We are developing solutions in IoT and Augmented Reality where Planckly is working on wearables like smartwatches and voice technology to make Plackly a must have in-store shopping app,” Uzair concludes.