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Ireland-based supermarket Lidl launched a WhatsApp chatbot to help customers find the best times to do their grocery shopping and avoid long lines. Customers can text the bot, which was announced this month, with the day of the week and time they plan to go to Lidl. Based on Lidl’s transaction numbers and real-time data, the bot then lets them know if this is typically a busy, average or quiet time at the store.

For decades, consumers have been able to check the traffic before going on a drive — via local radio stations, Google Maps, and more. Now, Lidl has applied this idea of ‘checking the traffic’ to its own store! The supermarket expanded its thinking, seeing how this older concept could help it tap into a newer, more urgent expectation: that brands go above and beyond to help consumers maintain their distance from others. 

Moreover, Lidl’s chatbot ties into a trend we call INFORMAL INFO. Lidl’s chatbot is among a growing number of innovations that let consumers text a brand — in the same way (and via the same platforms!) they would with their friends and families. Brands that embrace these fast and informal modes of communication make it easier for consumers to interact with them; and as a result, more likely to interact with them. That’s why organizations have turned to texting to dispense key information and services. The city of Buenos Aires is using WhatsApp to help citizens determine if they may have COVID-19, a swimwear brand in St. Louis has harnessed texting to offer emotional support, and Lidl, of course, is guiding shoppers on how they can get groceries safely. How could your brand use messaging platforms to offer consumers an easy, convenient means of support?

Stay healthy,

The TrendWatching content team