The last decade has seen some of the most recognised names in the UK's retail industry suffer and die at the hands of the retail apocalypse. From Blockbuster and BHS to Toys R Us and Staples, it cannot be denied that following this tumultuous decade, it is now make-or-break for the sector. With the emergence of e-commerce, different technologies and fluctuations in customer behaviour and expectations, the sector must quickly develop and adapt their operations in keeping with ever-evolving consumer trends.
However, 2020 has undoubtedly had the largest, most damning impact on the UK's retail sector, as a result of Coronavirus. The forced closure of the retail sector for prolonged periods of time in the spring and winter has seen many retailers struggle and then collapse into the black hole of Coronavirus-induced decline. Businesses such as Bonmarché, Peacocks and Jaeger and most notably, high street giant, Arcadia Group, owner of Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins has fallen into administration placing thousands upon thousands of jobs at risk.
Now, it is of utmost importance that high-street retailers are able to combat the challenges Covid has thrown their way, especially in the lead up to the festive season. One avenue of achieving this is by adopting measures from supermarket retail technology, with features such as in-app payments and remote ordering presenting solutions to a number of the problems posed by increased safety and hygiene measures. Marks & Spencer's "Sparks Book & Shop" and Tesco's online operation growth are just a few examples of where technology has allowed retailers to be better positioned to cope with fluctuating consumer behaviour and demand.
Overall, nimble technologies that help customers and staff to adhere to restrictions while enjoying a more convenient and enjoyable shopping experience is essential for retail recovery. Ubamarket represents one company who have already developed this technology in the supermarket and grocery sector, with retailers including SPAR, EUROSPAR, Budgens and Londis having adopted for Ubamarket’s mobile technology to support in-app payment, aisle sat-nav, automatic loyalty and remote stock checking capabilities for their customers.
CEO of Ubamarket, Will Broome, discusses how Britain’s high street retailers can enhance the shopping experience and usher in a new age of physical retail:
"As one of the most affected and integral institutions in society, it is essential that Britain’s retailers look to adapt to the new conditions to ensure they adapt to the challenges Covid throws their way. Retail technology 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.”
Ubamarket's mobile technology helps retailers to offer customers an incredible experience when they come to shop at their stores. Not only does our technology revitalise and revolutionise the process of shopping in-store for customers, but it also provides retailers with a much-needed method to get back on track and ensure they can thrive in the midst of a tough climate for the industry."