A technology firm is currently offering a new ordering platform to help food stores trade more safely and effectively during the coronavirus pandemic, free of charge to all retailers in the UK. 

Forage Lite is designed to enable customers to order, pay for, and pick up orders without having to come into an outlet’s premises.

Graticule Personalisation, the company behind Forage Lite, says shoppers need nothing more than a smart phone to use the new zero-contact click-and-collect system.

It describes the platform as versatile and can be used by a variety of food retail outlets including mini-markets, grocers, off-licences and independent speciality food and drink stores. 

Forage Lite works by allowing customers to order via text, Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. Shops can change stock availability and post offers for customers looking for special deals.

When the order is received and accepted by the shop owner, a link is sent to the customer to make the payment online. The shop owner is notified when the payment is processed and is given the registration plate of the shopper’s car. The buyer is alerted when the order is ready and can drive to the outlet and text they have arrived. The shopper’s identity is confirmed through the number plate and the goods brought out and placed in the boot without the customer having to leave the car.

Customers who prefer to walk or cycle to an outlet can pick-up orders at a pre-designated point.

Graticule Personalisation is run by Rob Baker and Dave Hall who met when working on an inventory project for Starbucks. The pair, who founded Graticule two years ago, have tech experience with brands such as Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and KFC.

Forage Lite was fast-tracked to meet the crisis and was developed in four weeks using technology from Graticule’s Forage service which is being launched later in the year for supermarkets, restaurant and retail chains, according to Graticule’s chief technology officer Dave Hall: "There is no need to be a techie or have IT support to set up Forage Lite. Shops and their customers, can start using it as soon as they sign up."

Graticule’s CEO Rob Baker said: "Forage Lite will help food retailers operate more effectively and safely through the pandemic by taking away physical interaction through handling money or goods, while giving customers a more convenient and faster way to collect their orders.

"Many retailers have been hit hard by the Coronavirus. They are an essential part of local communities and the economy and we want to do our bit to help them come through this difficult period."

More information is available at https://foragelite.co.uk.