A Toronto-based company has created a physical distancing traffic management solution to help retailers manage pedestrian traffic in their stores.
Basically, like a traffic light on a roadway, the TraffikFlo app is connected to a sign that tells customers if it is okay for them to enter a store. The simple box, placed on storefront doors or windows, indicates to consumers whether they can either walk into the establishment right away (green light) or have to wait depending on store capacity numbers (red light).
Damian Wright, Founder, Owner and Creative Technologist at WXM, the company behind the app, said the sign itself is connected by Bluetooth and it can be controlled manually by an app on someone’s phone or tablet or through a web browser.
“It can be set up somewhere that is easily visible,” said Wright.
The sign is made out of cardboard, recycled materials, with a Go (green light) or a No (red light).
The concept was launched last summer. From the idea stage to when it was produced and manufactured, took about three months. Initially it focused on working with local retail stores ensuring the concept was up and running and working the way it should.
“The local consumers around us really loved it and they were singing its praises. What they really liked about it, and the feedback we were getting from the customers, was that it was just so simple for them to know that I could enter a store,” said Wright.
WXM has been in business for about seven years. The creative technology company has specialized in creating interactive technology for events and for advertising campaigns.
The innovative TraffikFlo app can be downloaded through either Google Play or the App Store and syncs via Bluetooth. Alternatively, the sign can also be controlled through a Chrome web browser at app.traffikflo.com. For added security, access is controlled through the app using a personal pin number.
The traffic system can be controlled through either Manual or Counter Mode. Counter Mode allows stores to input a max number of patrons within the store. As patrons enter, they add to the tally until the max number is reached, which will turn the display from green to red. As people leave, subtract from the total and the light will turn back to green. This is not an automatic system, but a useful alternative manual process.
“My idea was the mom and pop shop. They don’t want to be hiring security. They don’t want to be having to spend the extra money when things are so tough and they don’t want to have to spend extra salary on a person just to control the lineup here and there where it’s needed,” said Wright.
“With this sign, I made it for those small and independent stores. But what we’ve actually found is that a lot of other stores and other locations are interested. We’ve had security offices buy it. We’ve had a recycling plant in Kingston buy it. Any which way that they can help control people around them. Or control that flow of traffic which easily communicates to customers it’s safe to enter that space. I’ve even had people talk to me about having it in their work offices and spaces where people aren’t sure if they should be entering or not.”
The concept is being sold online and through Shopify throughout North America. Also word of mouth is helping spread the word about the innovative and simple but effective sign.
“It’s across the U.S. now but we’ve actually had people reach out to us in the UK. So now we’re looking at selling it in the UK. We’ve been talking to a company in France who would like to take it on.”
Wright sees the potential for other uses of the sign even when times return to ‘normal’.
“I do have a couple of ideas of where it could go. I think we’re going to be into social distancing for awhile. I’m focusing right now on making sure we can help the small retailers but I definitely think in the future, outside of the pandemic, it could have potential in other areas of business and also other areas of work. I’m working on developing those right now and I’ve got some really fun ideas for it,” said Wright.