- Will Broome, CEO of Ubamarket, discusses the evolution of till-less retail technology
As London Tech Week commences for the first time since the advent of Covid-19, the message of resilience, power and speed of innovation has perhaps been no more apparent that in the retail sector over the last two years. Research from the Buy Now, Pay Later provider Klarna discovered that 80% of consumers believe that retailers need to invest in new technology. The reality however has been that over the past two years, there has been a decade’s worth of technological advancement in the retail industry, largely dominated by the race between the nation’s leading supermarkets to open till-less concept stores.
With expert analysts predicting that hundreds of till-less stores across the European continent by 2023, the concept of un-manned retail has been met with some scepticism. The requirement for face-scanning cameras has drawn some criticism from consumers, whilst the lack of human interaction has unnerved others who require assistance. However, solutions such as Ubamarket have pioneered technology that facilitates for till-less retail, but still maintains the core essence of physical retail.
Ubamarket’s app is branded to each retailer and participating store, and hyper-personalises the shopping experience for each customer. Working with retailers such as Central England Co-op, Budgens, and EuroSPAR, the ‘Scan, Pay, Go’ technology provides consumers with the pioneering Magic Shopping List® that automatically orders a shopping list and provide an aisle Sat-Nav feature, highlighting exactly where in-store produce is located.
- Totally Till-less – the app allows customers to scan products/shelves as they shop (without even having to tap), and then check-out and pay in app. With Ubamarket, customers can completely bypass queues and don’t even need to visit the till to pay.
- Personalised deals through AI – Ubamarket’s AI recognises shopping patterns, favourite brands and regular purchases, and will begin to offer consumers deals and money saving opportunities for products they love the most. This feature offers consumers exclusive access to special offers and deals that you can’t find anywhere else.
- Facial recognition – Ubamarket has seamlessly incorporated the industry’s leading phone facial recognition technology and can now approve the customer for products which would typically require an age check. Once a customer has uploaded appropriate ID and documentation to the app, they can immediately approve their purchases, with no need for assistance by store managers or cashiers.
- Shop by dietary/allergy requirements – the technology also provides in-depth allergen information and allows you to shop according to dietary or allergen requirements.
- Plastic Alerts: As part of Ubamarket’s commitment to sustainability, not only does the app provide information on which packaging can and can’t be recycled in your weekly shop, but it will give you a summary of the environmental footprint of your shop. This also helps retailers to meet their sustainability goals.
- Success rate for retailers: In prototype stores, app users spend on average 21% more than non-app users. Retailers also experienced a 92% repeat-usership rate and a 300% uplift in customer loyalty.
To use the app in-store, customers can simply enter or dictate their shopping list into the app. This will then be rearranged into the order in which the items are displayed in the store via the bespoke ‘Magic Shopping List®’ technology which guides the shopper to each item. Customers can scan additional products that are not on their list at any time (using the shopping list is optional). Finally, customers can pay for their shopping in-app and simply leave the store – Ubamarket’s technology means that the shopping experience can be totally till-less (as well as being designed to work in conjunction with existing tills and self-checkout units).
Will Broome, CEO of Ubamarket, has commented on the growth of retail technology over the course of the past two years.
“With the outbreak of the pandemic, the grocery retail sector became an integral part of British society. Not only did physical stores provide pivotal sustenance to the nation, they also provided a modicum of respite from the pandemic as outlets provided a location for Brits to briefly escape the confines of lockdown.
“The pandemic of course also brought about a multitude of new challenges in-store for the sector, with new safety measures having to be deployed, as well contending with the rate at which retail technology was implemented. With a decade of technological advancements ushered in the space of months, the grocery sector now functions totally differently to how it did pre-pandemic. Every major supermarket is in a race to open till-less concept stores, while the retail technology in the convenience sector has transitioned from a luxury service to an absolute necessity.”