COVID-19 and the new age of retail

Exploring the shift in shopping trends and the role of retail technology in the future of shopping

As the impact of the Coronavirus crisis grows every day, the way in which Britain’s shoppers are buying their produce has shifted dramatically. Visiting the shops less often, taking one’s own bags, using contactless instead of cash and avoiding the checkouts are just some of the behaviours exhibited by customers across the country in an attempt to make their shop as convenient and hygienic as possible. 

When the Coronavirus crisis subsides, the world will not return to business as usual. The nation’s shopping habits will remain different, and convenience and hygiene will be amongst the chief concerns of customers and retailers alike. But how will the nation’s supermarkets, grocers and outlets adapt to help consumers shop in what will be a new age of retail?

According to many industry commentators, retail technology holds the key to building the future of retail where convenience and hygiene are key, and Ubamarket is one such example of retail technology which is poised to help a nation of consumers transition into a new age of retail and shopping norms. The mobile technology drastically improves the consumer experience in terms of convenience and personalisation; customers can build shopping lists, be guided around the store with an aisle sat-nav, and scan and pay for their products in-app, completely skipping the checkout queues. With one fully integrated mobile solution, consumers can enjoy a dramatically more streamlined, easy and above all, hygienic shopping experience. 

Furthermore, mobile applications and machine learning can observe the shopping habits of each customer and begin to offer personalised discounts on products that customers shop for the most – supermarkets who are quick to adopt this technology will have their finger on the pulse of consumer demand, whilst also ensuring stock is replenished accordingly. Given that over half (52%) of the UK’s shoppers are happy to share their consumer data with retailers if they can save money, according to Ubamarket, the retailers who offer mobile technology to their customers stand to profit massively. 

Will Broome, Founder and CEO of Ubamarket, comments on the role of retail tech in building the future of shopping, and discusses why supermarkets must observe and adapt to changing shopping trends brought about by COVID-19:

“Despite the havoc that is being caused by the outbreak of the Coronavirus, I believe that the crisis is bringing into focus a number of pre-existing problems with the way in which we shop. The constantly changing store layouts, the outdated queues and checkouts, and the lack of communication between supermarkets and their customers are just some of the issues that COVID-19 has made very clear. 

The implementation of retail technology holds the key to building the future of retail that supports our new shopping habits whilst also helping retailers to safeguard themselves against future cases of irregular consumer behaviour. After coronavirus, the world won’t go back to how was – people will be more hygienic and convenience-conscious, and retailers will be looking for ways to adapt to the shift in consumer behaviour and protect themselves against future shortages.

Retail tech such as Ubamarket offers an all encompassing solution in the form of a simple app which puts consumers in control, doing away with the need for time-consuming queues, unhygienic checkouts, complicated store layouts and confusion about where products are and whether they are in stock. What’s more, on the retailer side, stores which implement retail tech solutions will be able to access far more in-depth and accurate consumer data, helping them to assess their behaviour, manage stock more efficiently and effectively, whilst being able to effectively communicate directly to the consumer base. 

I for one am extremely interested to see how the retail landscape in the UK will emerge from the Coronavirus crisis, but if one thing is certain, it is the capability of retail technology to help us build the future of retail that we would like to see.”

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