Boris Johnson has announced a second national lockdown in England, to be put in place on November 5 until December 2, in an attempt to stem the rapid spread of Coronavirus.
Now, supermarkets must once again adapt to panic-buying fuelled by fears of empty shelves and queues of shoppers stretching around car parks.
Amid these fears, especially in the lead up to the festive season, it cannot be denied that grocers and supermarkets have been integral in providing a lifeline for people during difficult times. Not only do they feed us with our basic necessities, they now go beyond this in providing much-needed relief to us as the country is once again confined to their homes.
Britons will once again yearn to feel a sense of normality- which in most cases can only be achieved through their weekly shop; a time in which they were able to (safely) socialise, and gain a glimpse of normality amid the unforeseen circumstances brought about by the pandemic.
In light of this, technology pioneers Ubamarket found that 50% of Brits believed their weekly shop to the supermarket was vital to combating the isolation they were feeling during lockdown.
As we move into a national lockdown once again, the centrality of supermarkets in society has now become overwhelmingly clear, with many once again finding solace in their supermarket.
In order to cope with constantly fluctuating stock demand and footfall, it is essential that supermarkets and the retail sector alike are able to adapt and learn from the first lockdown.
According to many industry commentators, retail technology holds the key to helping supermarkets and retailers transition into the new future of retail. 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 second lockdown, and how they go beyond simply feeding the nation:
“Localised lockdowns have highlighted exactly how important local shops and supermarkets are to consumers across the country. An essential presence, our nation’s shop keepers are constantly at the front line, providing everyone with their basic necessities.
Their presence is absolutely paramount in our efforts to combat the difficulties brought about by the virus, and 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, 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.”