54% of Londoners felt that their trip to the supermarket was vital to combating isolation in lockdown

Following the introduction of the ‘three-tier’ lockdown system, with London falling under the medium category, there is sure to be a surge in footfall among the nation’s supermarkets and shops. This is likely to once again cause fluctuations in stock demand due to panic buying and stockpiling. Research from the British Retail Consortium and KPMG has confirmed this, with consumer spending increasing by 5.6% last month compared with a year ago, with particular increases seen in food sales and home improvement goods.

Grocers and supermarkets have been integral in providing a lifeline for people during Coronavirus pandemic. With millions of people confined to their homes in the first lockdown, many found that their weekly shop was the only time they were able to (safely) socialise, and gain a glimpse of normality amid the unforeseen circumstances brought about by the pandemic. As we experience an increase in localised lockdowns, the centrality of supermarkets in British society has now become overwhelmingly clear. Showcasing this sentiment further, retail technology pioneers Ubamarket has found that 54% of Londoners have claimed that doing their weekly shop at their local supermarket was essential to combating isolation in lockdown.

Providing relief to millions of people across the country fearing that they would be unable to shop for their basic necessities, supermarkets needed to adapt to panic-buying fuelled by fears of empty shelves and queues of shoppers stretching around car parks. As key workers of the sector, it was of utmost importance that supermarkets were able to keep up with consumer demand while also prioritising safety and wellbeing.

Following the increase in lockdown restrictions, it is more important than ever that supermarkets and the retail sector alike are able to adapt to the post-Coronavirus climate. According to many industry commentators, retail technology holds the key to helping supermarkets and retailers transition into the new future of retail as designed by Coronavirus. The implementation of end-to-end tech solutions which help supermarkets to streamline and modernise the shopping experience in keeping with the changing retail landscape.

Will Broome, CEO and Founder of Ubamarket, discusses the integral role of supermarkets amid the Coronavirus crisis, and how retail technology can transform the current in-store offering to ensure long-term success and customer satisfaction throughout the Coronavirus lockdown and beyond.

“The Coronavirus pandemic has highlighted exactly how important local shops and supermarkets are to consumers across the country. With 50% of Brits combating isolation and finding much-needed relief when doing their weekly shop, the centrality of supermarkets has never been clearer.

Now, in order to sustain this, the world of retail needs to evolve and adapt to the new Coronavirus climate, moving away from the existing problems the sector has. 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.

Retail tech offers an all-encompassing solution; in Ubamarket’s case in the form of a simple app; which can put consumers in control, doing away with the need for time-consuming queues, unhygienic checkouts, and confusion about where products are and whether they are in stock. In a tech-supported store, customers can simply check ahead of time which products are in stock, be guided to their exact location with an aisle sat-nav, and then simply scan and pay in-app, rather than having to waste time and risk potentially dangerous exposure in queues or tills.

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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