Watch Out Big Four: Customers are Getting Savvy

It has been an interesting fortnight in the world of retail, and not just because Ubamarket was unveiled to the press. Last week we had some positive news – figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that retail sales in Britain rose by 1.4% in July. It was a welcome announcement, demonstrating that consumer confidence has not been adversely affected by the results of the EU referendum.

This week delivered another interesting revelation; data from market researchers Kantar Worldpanel revealed that all of the UK’s ‘big four’ supermarkets saw sales fall in the three months to 14 August. Despite the fact that overall supermarket sales were up by 0.3% in this period, sales at Tesco declined 0.4%, while Sainsbury’s and Morrisons saw a drop of 0.6% and 1.8% respectively. Bringing up the rear was Asda, which was the big loser among the supermarket heavyweights, with sales falling by 5.5% in the last quarter.

The stranglehold the big four have over the supermarket industry is evidently loosening. Discount chains such as Aldi and Lidl are stealing away shoppers, while customers are also increasingly turning to independent retailers. Ultimately, as we know very well here at Ubamarket, what consumers want from their shopping experience is value, convenience and quality and they will likely go to whichever store offers them the best combination of these things.

Ubamarket is a solution that helps deliver an enhanced supermarket shopping experience – forget long queues, difficulty in trying to find items on your list, and that annoying moment when you realise you have forgotten your loyalty card… again! We are here to lead the charge in the retail revolution and to make sure shoppers get quality and value, conveniently. Find out how with this lovely little video, which shows you exactly how the Ubamarket app works:

Ubamarket™ – Shop Smarter from Ubamarket. Shop Smarter. on Vimeo.

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Keeping Up with the Times: Why Food Shopping Needs to Change

This is a blog from Will Broome, Founder & CEO, Ubamarket Ltd.

Earlier this year Andy Street, CEO of the John Lewis Partnership (which owns high-end supermarket Waitrose), said on BBC Breakfast: “Our customers like our online experience, but they also like our in-store experience.” The secret, of course, is to find the perfect balance between the two. As he goes on to say, “John Lewis’s online sales are strongest in places where we’ve got shops” – this is because people want the hybrid experience.

The rise of online shopping was supposedly going to be the death knell for retail stores – but despite the apparent convenience of online shopping, we (nearly) all still love to go to the shops. This is particularly the case with groceries, whether that’s for the big weekly shop or multiple convenience trips. In fact, Ubamarket will soon be launching an amazingly insightful new report which shows that people’s main gripe with online food shopping is that they cannot choose their own items; people evidently still want to see and feel the produce they are buying.

However, given people’s desire to enter the supermarket has not been lessened by the rise of online shopping, it is extraordinary that the supermarket experience, all over the world, is still almost as it was decades ago. What’s more, give or take, supermarkets are almost all universally identical from store to store – busy, confusing, time consuming and laborious. Unlike other areas of the retail world, food retailers are simply not offering exciting, innovative new ways of enhancing the shopping experience. But there is huge potential too!

Next time you’re in the supermarket have a look around. Everyone will be staring at either a scrap of paper or, increasingly frequently, their mobile phone. In fact, Apple stats tell us that 82% of iPhone users have used their phone notepad as a shopping list!

Self-checkout is another good example of where innovation is needed – it’s annoying and unreliable for the shopper, and it’s expensive for the store. Most people avoid it except when presented with the longest of queues; and even then the queues at some self-checkouts are even worse than the main checkout. It’s like a theme park with no ride at the end of it! Checkout positions and conveyor belts are an unbelievable waste of retail space and real-estate as well. In central London stores that’s tens, even hundreds of thousands of pounds of wasted opportunity.

So, we’ve established that we actually quite like going to the supermarket, that a great many people use shopping list and that queues remain a huge bugbear for both the consumer and the retailer. Throw in difficulties in finding items in store and that nagging issue of people always forgetting their loyalty cards, and what we’re left with is a disjointed picture where the supermarket experience is letting customers down – or, in other words, food shopping needs to change!

Enter Ubamarket™, the app which will make your shopping list ‘magic’ and enable you to shop smarter without even having to think about it. How it works is simple: you create your shopping list in the app, this will then instantly sort itself into the order your listed items are displayed in the store so you’ll be able to find absolutely everything, and quickly. You then scan as you shop, totting up the price as you go, and finally, you won’t even have to queue because you will have scanned everything whilst shopping so there’s no need to wait in line at the checkout to pointlessly re-scan all the items! On top of all that, you’ll benefit from Automatic Loyalty™; you’ll never have to remember your loyalty card ever again and you’ll always get the best possible value for every shop.

Four years in the making, Ubamarket™ was conceived by a direct need to solve a series of universal problems, seamlessly. It makes everyday life less complicated. You can find out more at www.ubamarket.com , or better yet download it from the App Store and try it out in our prototype store, Warner’s Budgens, High Street, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, GL56 0AF right now!

warners budgensSo, if you fancy a trip to the glorious Cotswolds and want to witness the retail revolution that is Ubamarket™ first hand, we’ll see you here!

 

This is a blog from Will Broome, Founder & CEO, Ubamarket Ltd.

Read all about it! Ubamarket says ‘Hello World’!

So, the big week has arrived and the cat has leaped out of the proverbial bag. Ubamarket has arrived!

With an ambitious plan to change the face of retail forever, Ubamarket is a revolutionary new app that completely transforms the supermarket shopping experience. The app combines the best elements of online and in-store food shopping, saving supermarket shoppers both time and money while still allowing them to peruse items at their leisure.

In a nutshell, here’s how Ubamarket works:

  • Step 1 – Input your shopping list into the Ubamarket app
  • Step 2 – Enter the supermarket and the app will rearrange your shopping list as the items are located in store
  • Step 3 – Using the app’s scanner, scan item barcodes – including variable barcodes on weighted products – as you go, keeping track of your spend
  • Step 4 – No queues, simply tap your smartphone on a payment point without the need to unload items to a conveyor belt and re-scan purchases

We could talk (or write) all day about the wondrous functionality of the amazing new Ubamarket app, but better yet, let us show you how it could change your shopping experience with this brilliant video:

Ubamarket™ – Shop Smarter from Ubamarket. Shop Smarter. on Vimeo.

This week we drew back the curtain and went out to press to tell journalists about our game-changing new app. The response has been brilliant, with great coverage already secured around the launch of the app – and its creator, Ubamarket’s Founder and CEO, Will Broome – in the following titles:

It’s a fantastic start to the Ubamarket story, but it is just that – the start. Over the coming weeks, months and years you can expect to see the app featuring in more and more stores across Britain (and beyond), while we will also be taking up more column inches in national and trade publications.

At present you can use the Ubamarket app in Warner’s Budgens’ Moreton-in-Marsh store in the Cotswolds, but plans are in place for rapid expansion into outlets across the length and breadth of the UK. We look forward to updating you with all these exciting developments as they unfold, so be sure to keep an eye on the Ubamarket blog and get downloading the app for free from the App Store!

New Technology: Risk vs Reward

It will come as no surprise to hear that we here at Ubamarket love new technology. Whether it’s hardware or software, a supercomputer or an app, new technology is an incredibly powerful tool – it has the ability to topple the status quo and in a short space of time make the unthinkable become the ordinary.

But to quote Uncle Ben (the character from Spider-Man, not the rice retailer), with great power comes great responsibility. Despite all the advances that come as a result of technological innovation, new systems also present unique new challenges; if these challenges are not overcome then problems will ensue.

The example of self-scan checkouts in supermarkets illustrates this point perfectly. Earlier this month the University of Leicester released a report revealing how the implementation of self-scanners in supermarkets has caused a notable spike in theft. To be more precise, the study – which analysed data from nearly 12 million shopping trips in Britain, the US, Belgium and Holland between 2013 and 2015 – found that introducing self-checkouts has caused the rate of loss in supermarkets to increase by 122%. The report also stated that even honest shoppers had been guilty of enjoying a ‘five finger discount’ due to frustrations with the technology not working seamlessly.

The message to take away from this research is that despite all the advantages posed by new technology, when there are flaws in new systems they are open to be exploited. It demonstrates the importance of leaving no stone unturned in accounting for potential pitfalls when launching a new piece of technology. If corners are cut, or important factors are overlooked, then both businesses and consumers stand to suffer.

Needless to say, Ubamarket has been ruthless in its preparation prior to its very, very exciting launch… coming soon!

Using Innovation to Save a Nation of Shopkeepers

While often attributed to Napoleon, it was actually the philosopher and economist Adam Smith who first referred to Britain as “a nation of shopkeepers” in his famous 1776 work The Wealth of Nations. However, some 240 years on, is our status as a country built upon shopping coming under threat?

According to a regular survey carried out by the CBI Retail, retail sales suffered their biggest fall in more than four years during the first weeks after the EU referendum on 23 June. The issue is more far-reaching than just post-Brexit turbulence too; BDO’s monthly High Street Sales Tracker recorded its sixth successive month without growth for Britain’s retailers in July.

The current economic climate is clearly not ideal for retailers; the uncertainty caused by the EU referendum result has inevitably seen people rein in their spending habits. The high street is also facing stiff competition from online shopping, which continues to grow steadily. But it isn’t all doom and gloom – the challenge for this nation of shopkeepers is to ensure it is doing all it can to lure customers in store.

Special offers and promotional deals will always attract shoppers to bricks and mortar stores (we all love a bargain, after all), but this isn’t enough. Retailers must embrace innovation and new technologies to enhance the shopping experience, whether it’s making it easier for buyers to find items they want, or coming up ways to cut down on long queues. Finding solutions to these common problems will ensure customers continue to hit the high street rather than retreating to online channels or avoiding shopping altogether.

Britain may be a nation of shopkeepers, but it is also a nation that has always been at the forefront of innovation. By combining the two, the UK’s retail industry can evolve, modernise and deliver a quality of service that keeps their customers coming back through the doors.