Steven Carlin
How the Gentlemen’s Lounge Generated 398 Visits to It’s New Queuecam on the First Day
How the Gentlemen’s Lounge Generated 398 Visits to It’s New Queuecam on the First Day
Posted by Steven Carlin at 6:09 pm on Friday 20th May 2016
“It's an app that lets barbers hook up the feed from their webcam so customers can see the size of the queue before heading down to the shop...”
I had only stopped in at The Gentlemen’s Lounge for a haircut, but having mentioned what I do during the usual customer/barber exchange, now found myself in the staff room listening as the owner, Ike, excitedly described his idea.
He had paid to have a webcam installed in the shop recently, he explained, and while checking the live feed on his mobile phone, it struck him that if his customers could access the same feed, they would be able to see the size of the queue before heading down.
Walk-ins had been integral to his business model since the shop opened, part of the traditional barbers experience he had created, but the queue could easily reach double figures at peak times, and he would often have customers call or text to ask if it was busy before committing to pay a visit.
The app, he thought, would cut down the volume of calls while giving customers a convenient way to check for themselves.
The Gentlemen’s Lounge webcam feed.
The Gentlemen’s Lounge webcam feed.
Minimum Viable Product
Walking back to the office, I thought a lot about Ike’s idea. What could be the minimum viable product? The conversation had started with an app, but embedding the feed within a web page would be the fastest way to test the idea. I reasoned that if Ike could access the security camera feed in a browser, I would be able to embed it within a webpage. And if I could do that, I would have Queuecam built, tested, and ready to promote the same day.
Ike agreed, so we set to work.
Building Queuecam
The Gentlemen’s Lounge didn’t have an existing website, so the first task was finding a suitable domain name and hooking it up to the page building software. Once connected to ClickFunnels, we created the page and linked the security camera feed. Also adding the shop opening times, contact information, and some helper text to guide the page visitors.
ClickFunnels page building software.
ClickFunnels page building software.
We spent a lot of time crafting the meta tags Facebook uses to display links within the newsfeed using the Facebook Debugger Tool. Making sure the image was at the right scale, the most important information was at the front of the page title, and the page description was succinct.
Facebook Debugger Tool.
Facebook Debugger Tool.
Promoting Queuecam
Ike had built a respectable audience of 650+ followers on Facebook since launching the business so we started there. We crafted the post between us; then Ike shared it to The Gentlemen’s Lounge Facebook Page.
The post started to get traction quickly so I suggested to Ike a small boost might help it on it’s way. He hadn’t used the feature before so we walked through the steps of setting up his Facebook Advert Account together, and he boosted the post for £10
Further investigation showed the traffic had overwhelmingly come from mobile devices, validating our assumption that would be how customers would access the page.
Facebook Page post.
Facebook Page post.
Facebook post boost tool.
Facebook post boost tool.
Google Analytics users over time view.
Google Analytics users over time view.
Google Analytics users by device view.
Google Analytics users by device view.
Final Thoughts
So in less than 24 hours we had proven Ike’s idea, boosted his walk-in rate at the shop, and established his brand as agile and innovative. The feedback in the following days and weeks from customers has been fantastic, and we are busy working on the next iteration of Ike’s Queuecam.
Update 26/05/16
Unfortunately, due to the code of practice governing the storage and display of CCTV imagery, brought to our attention in the comments, Ike and I decided to take the camera down today while we seek further advice.
Update 08/06/16
I had an old colleague look into the precedent for using webcams in this way, and he sent me a link to the BBC Webcams & Privacy Policy. Having looked at the policy, Ike and I have decided to put Queuecam back up and follow the BBC’s lead of informing customers about the webcam when they enter the shop, and giving them the option of switching it off if requested.
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