Can retail technology help the sector reopen?



Will Broome, CEO of retail tech app Ubamarket, comments on how retailers can smooth the opening process for their customers


Long queues of customers formed outside homeware giant IKEA as it reopened 19 of its stores on Monday after weeks under lockdown. Thousands lined up in socially-distanced queues in the car parks at branches in England and Northern Ireland, with some customers arriving at 5.30am to be among the first to enter.


IKEA reopened with new safety measures in place and limits on the number of customers allowed inside at any one time. Social distancing “wardens” patrolled the stores and surrounding areas to guide people around a one-way system and ensure they were keeping two metres apart. Some bystanders claimed that queues were stretching back over five miles with shoppers waiting for over three hours to get into the store. 


Will Broome, Founder and CEO of retail tech pioneers Ubamarket, has commented on how technology can be implemented to help retailers deal with long queues and backed-up demand.


Long queues and social distancing will cause issues for retailers as they begin to reopen stores. Consumers have been waiting for months to get back to the high street so it is no surprise to see teething issues. However, there are some options that retailers can do to help get consumers through their doors quickly and safely.


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.  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. By building lists off-site and checking stock before entering the store, retail technology can help reduce necessary queues before consumers travel to the outlet. It remains to be seen how the sector will fare beyond Coronavirus, but retail technology is sure to play a significant role.”

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