“How did you beat me to Starbucks? I saw you come into the IGA while I was still in line. Were you paying at that little machine?” Those questions came up after my ultra-quick stop at the Ridge IGA for one item and my daily Starbucks caffeine fix. My answer? By using cool technology.
For the first time ever, I am beta testing a new technology. That’s big news seeing as I am one technologically-challenged person. Having to learn the basics of a blog template left my brain spinning for 24 hours. Luckily, QThru mobile technology is “Danna proof.” That’s code for “simple enough even a technology idiot (me) can use it.”
QThru is the maker of a new retail mobile shopping app that is currently only being tested at the Snoqualmie Ridge IGA. I am a pro at grocery shopping. With four kids, sometimes it feels like my life. But I am terrible at making lists, which means the checkers at the IGA often see me more than once a day. I am always running in for a few forgotten things or last-minute items the kids need.
My QThru IGA grocery shopping app just cut the time of my IGA trips in half. If you want to join me in the land of technology, have an iPhone and regularly shop at the Ridge IGA, then you can be a beta tester too.
It seems everything in the valley is connected. The owner of Finaghty’s Irish Pub, Phil Stafford, is one of six QThru founders. Phil has a professional background in consumer marketing and retail through his 20 years working at a global creative brand agency. The other founders all have strong mobile technology backgrounds. About 1 1/2 years ago Phil was introduced to QThru’s CEO, Aaron Roberts, through another local Snoqualmie resident and start-up entrepreneur. This entrepreneur had seen the early prototype developed by Aaron and thought Phil could offer insight through his knowledge of why retailers, consumers and Consumer Product Goods companies are all looking to connect with each other through mobile technology.
QThru was founded in January 2011. Phil says, “When I first met Aaron and the other founders, I immediately knew QThru’s technology was the future of retail and that no one was out there doing this. I wanted to help be a part of it.”
Despite having a great technology prototype to open doors at several larger retailers, QThru founders believed they needed to install and test the solution locally, in a real-life situation, in order to gather data, improve and build on the technology. This is when Phil presented the technology to Tyler Myers of the Myers Group, owner of Snoqualmie Ridge IGA. Tyler immediately understood the technology’s benefit and where it could improve the shopping experience. Phil explained, “Tyler has been instrumental in giving us access to his store and infrastructure which has been invaluable to the development process.”
For all of you wondering what that little IGA check-out kiosk is – the thing by the first check stand and near the Red Box – it’s where I pay for my small grocery trips while others stand in line. It works like this. I signed up to be a beta tester with QThru. They emailed me an invitation and put the app on my iPhone – also via email. I literally took a picture of the front of my credit card and the card info was stored in the app. Technology is amazing. I then set up a password for the credit card.
Then I shop. I scan my items, which means I take a picture of the item’s UPC code. It stores my items in the app’s shopping cart. I can even put the items into my reusable shopping bag as I go. When I am done I head to the kiosk. I hit “checkout” on my iPhone and then scan (take a picture) of the QR code on the kiosk’s screen. Done. It prints a receipt and I show it to the checker. They do a “Costco” to quickly check that my items match my receipt and I am out the door. No lines. No having to ring up my own items like at a self-check out stand. Done and out the door… all while you might still be waiting in line.
The app is designed for 10-12 item shopping trips, which is me half the time I am at the IGA. The Snoqualmie Ridge IGA is the only store where QThru shopping is available. They will soon add a high-tech scale for produce, as well as the ability to buy wine – and liquor starting this June. In upcoming QThru app releases, users will be able to shop by adding recipes, sort for special food-related allergies or dietary needs and sort a list by aisle and share that list with another family member.
QThru is looking for about 50 more Ridge IGA beta testers. By getting more testers on board it will help QThru gather accurate and real-time data. Once they are assured the platform is solid, they will develop the Android and Windows Phone versions. Phil says, “Ridge IGA shoppers are helping create ground-breaking technology that mainstream and national retailers will soon enjoy. QThru is the only marketplace solution that offers a secure retail payment and scanning solution.”
There is no risk to the testers and they will be rewarded with special incentives after QThru launches. Currently, interested testers need an iPhone or iTouch. The iPhone is faster, though. If you would like to become a QThru beta tester email firstname.lastname@example.org
I love it. My kids think it’s cool. Most of all, it’s simple, convenient and a time-saver. Join me in the land of technology testing!