Howbsy.com is a Vancouver based female-founded free website that helps you find store wait times and relevant information during COVID. Our website not only includes grocery stores but also Costco, banks, pharmacies, liquor stores, hardware stores, recycling depots, clothing stores, restaurants and more.
We built Howbsy to help our community during this time. What started as a side project, has now blossomed into a large community of valuable information powered by our 150,000+ users.
How does it work?
Firstly, we are a crowd-sourced platform which means we rely on user input. We encourage our users to update their wait time while they are waiting in line to give other people in their community an accurate depiction of what is going on at that particular store. It only takes 10 seconds and anyone can update their wait time.
For the stores that are not updated as frequently we have an “estimated time” that is the result of an equation incorporating how large the store is, how many people are allowed in the store and the store's peak hours. The estimated times have the word “estimated” under them so our users can clearly decipher the estimated times from the actual updated times by users.
We also have verified users who are store owners that update the information themselves. If an account is verified, no one else can update information for that store as the owner has elected to control it solely themselves. Verified accounts will have a small green checkmark next to their name.
More than wait times
The Howbsy Community is a forum on our website where users can share relevant information. Anyone can post in our community and it’s a way to share useful information. For example, waiting in line for an hour only to be told that the item you want is out of stock is no fun. Our community feature was built to help solve this. By posting in the community items that are out of stock, local deals, social distancing practices and more.
As social distancing regulations begin to lift, the lineups to enter stores will become less of a regular occurrence. We want to continue to serve our community post COVID and are excited to announce our new feature, the “Optimizer.”
Instead of just telling you how long the lineups are, the Optimizer can now tell you “WHEN” is the optimal time to visit a store. These optimal times are the result of an equation which incorporates our crowd-sourced wait time data and the store’s peak hours.
We look forward to connecting with you. :)
Sincerely: Mae & Pan - Howbsy Co-Founders