Lancashire Times
Weekend Edition
5:00 AM 21st November 2020

Saturday Essay: How The Supermarket Is Vital To Combat Isolation

People have felt that their trip to the supermarket was vital to combating isolation in lockdown according to Will Broome from Ubamarket

Surging Coronavirus cases have caused England to move into a second national lockdown, with the closure of all non-essential businesses. The spring and winter national lockdowns have undoubtedly affected shopping habits immensely, with initial panic and bulk-buying, followed by constant fluctuations in consumer behaviour.

The high street and physical retail in particular have been deeply impacted by the virus, with ecommerce sales surging as people chose to order their basic necessities online. As a result, the essential role of grocers and supermarkets has become clearer and more important than ever before. Not only have they been integral in providing us all with basic living necessities, they have also played a hugely important role when it comes to our mental health.

At the front line of the virus, our nation's shop keepers have provided everyone with their basic necessities, showing that their presence is absolutely paramount in our efforts to combat the difficulties brought about by the virus.

The national lockdown in March saw millions of people confined to their homes, fearful of any contact with other people. However, these fears also came with elements of cabin fever as people yearned to once again feel a sense of normal. For many, the only time this could be achieved was through their weekly shop; a time 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, Ubamarket has commissioned research which has unveiled exactly how essential Britons find their local supermarket, while also showcasing an overwhelming desire amongst Britain’s consumers for retailers and hospitality venues to modernise and offer a safer, more convenient experience.

Ubamarket has found that 44% of Brits in Yorkshire believed their weekly shop to the supermarket was vital to combating the isolation they were feeling during lockdown.

51% of people in the North West of England felt that their trip to the supermarket was vital to combating isolation in lockdown.

As we embark into a second national lockdown, the centrality of supermarkets in British society is once again becoming overwhelmingly clear, with many finding solace in their supermarket.

Whilst the Coronavirus has raised huge hygiene and safety concerns which destroyed consumer confidence, it also highlighted a number of pre-existing problems with the shopping experience in Britain, and now a huge proportion of Brits feel that their shopping experience is outdated. Now, the question facing businesses is not ‘when will things go back to normal’ but rather ‘how can we adapt to succeed and serve customers in a post-COVID world?’.

Now, it is more important than ever that supermarkets and the retail sector alike are able to adapt to the post-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.

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.

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.

Overall, this research clearly showcases that in order for the sector to survive and thrive, the restoration of consumer confidence has become more important than ever. With shops and supermarkets playing such a fundamental and central role in our lives, it is of utmost importance that the sector is able to evolve, and technology holds the solution to this.

Technology and in-app solutions, such as payments, personalised offers and in-store navigation can help upsell to customers remotely, utilising their previous shopping history and buying trends to increase spend and basket size. This will help retailers offer a highly personalised high street experience without risking unnecessary contact. This will keep staff and shoppers safe while increasing spending and helping them to grow on the other side of the coronavirus crisis.

About Will Broome and Ubamarket:

Ubamarket is a white-label app pioneering in retail technology, created in 2012. By using the Ubamarket app, shops can offer exclusive access to personalised deals and automatic loyalty point collection, aisle sat-nav, in-app payments, and facial recognition will help to rebuild consumer confidence while reducing their spending and shopping time.
Will Broome
Will Broome
Will Broome, the founder and CEO of Ubamarket, started his career marketing Musical Theatre Productions in the USA. On his return to the UK, he joined one of the world’s leading PR Agencies, Ketchum Inc, where he managed the PR and live events for London Fashion Week, Wonderbra and Wrangler Jeans. He broke out on his own to set up one of the live event industry’s original ‘dot com’ tech successes and became one of the youngest UK Presidents of the International Live events association (ILEA). His passion for pioneering tech solutions led him to the retail industry where, for the last six years, Will has been immersed in research and development. The result is the launch of Ubamarket, which has already been named “The world’s most sophisticated shopping app" by The Grocer.

More information about Ubamarket can be found here: