Filipino startup QFri Technologies said it has developed a mobile app called QFri Storefront that can eliminate long queues in stores — a “possible solution to the anxiety of falling in line in a new normal” as Covid-19 cases in the Philippines continue to rise.
QFri Storefront allows businesses to set up their very own online shop to receive orders for curbside pickup and delivery. What differentiates it from existing players is its focus on local businesses and customers within their immediate vicinity and communities, called “hyperlocal e-commerce.”
The startup said brick and mortar stores still have a future amid the rapid development in the e-commerce space and the application “would help traditional mom-and-pop shops transition into a digital future.”
Fritzgheven Duco, founder of QFri Technologies, said technology can be very expensive, particularly for small businesses.
“Even large corporations have issues adapting to emerging technologies. QFri was built on the fundamental idea that technology as an empowering tool should be easy, affordable, and accessible especially to those that needs it the most. In the most basic sense, we wanted lines and counters gone in stores,” Duco said.
Duco, whose startup is being supported by the University of the Philippines (UP), said the app is now ready for launch.
QFri was built originally to introduce automation on some labor intensive but repetitive tasks inside stores, first of which is order-taking. The service industry is the most labor-intensive sector of the economy but the least productive in terms of per unit of additional labor.
“We hope that in this pandemic we can help businesses stay afloat with a smartphone and a little bit of an upgrade on how they do business. As a consumer myself, safety is paramount, and if we can keep commercial activity at pre-pandemic levels even with social distancing then that’s a win for the community,” Duco said.
QFri is in preview release from July 1 to August 30. Businesses anywhere within the Philippines can use the platform for free during this period. For businesses QFri Storefront is now available for download and customers can download the complementary QFri app to place their orders. Both applications are available on Google Play.
The startup clarified that QFri does not handle the actual delivery services, but rather encourages businesses to use the existing logistics and delivery market in the Philippines.