New Retail Research that looks into consumer sentiments towards shopping, in light of the retail sector embracing the integration of technology in-store, is set to provide a fillip to the UK’s providers of unattended retail solutions such as micro market and smart fridges.
The New Retail Research has found that since the start of the pandemic:
- 62% of Brits (28 million) want to be able to complete their supermarket shop and exit the store in under 20 minutes
- 43% of Brits (over 20 million) want their shopping experience moving forward to require as little human interaction as possible
- 4 in 10 Brits no longer use cash when shopping or when in bars or restaurants due to concerns around the transfer of germs
- 50% of people in Britain (over 23 million) haven’t used cash at all during periods of lockdown and have relied exclusively on card and contactless payments
- Over one-third (34%) of Brits say that the self-checkouts cause significant anxiety due to hygiene concerns and proximity to other shoppers
Will Broome, CEO of Ubamarket, who commissioned the survey, says ‘The New Retail Research clearly shows that the Coronavirus pandemic has completely transformed both retailer and consumer behaviour- in particular when it comes to purchasing their goods.
‘The pandemic has raised huge questions around hygiene and safety, with particular concerns around consumer confidence. This fluctuation in shopping habits has further highlighted a number of pre-existing problems with the shopping experience in Britain, with a huge proportion of Brits now feeling that their shopping experience is outdated.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?’
Morrisons is to trial a store that has no till
In light of this New Retail Research, payment app company Ubamarket has found that Brits are also widely in favour of the retail sector streamlining the shopping experience, to reduce the element of human contact. Recognising this trend, Britain’s fourth largest grocer, Morrisons, is to trial a store outside its Bradford headquarters that has no tills, allowing customers to collect their groceries and leave immediately. Depending on the success of the trial, the supermarket chain hope to open more of these stores across the country. The concept store depends on shoppers scanning a key in the Morrisons app upon arrival, with cameras tracking the produce they select, and subsequently debiting their account. In a radical departure from the traditional means of grocery shopping, the move from Morrisons further underpins the retail sector’s desire for greater technological integrations as a result of the pandemic.
The circumstances brought about by Covid-19 call for a new way of doing things: doing away with the need for time-consuming queues, unhygienic checkouts, complicated store layouts and confusion about where products are and whether they are in stock. ‘Paying for your shopping in-app drastically reduces your exposure to potentially dangerous interactions as there is no need to stand in queues or use the tills’, Mr. Broome said. ‘Ultimately, if retailers are willing to implement retail technology, we could make the weekly shop far more safe and hygienic for everybody in the UK.”
The unattended retail sector, which includes operators traditionally engaged in vending, is ahead of this curve; the success of ‘Foodies’ from Selecta being a case in point. Selecta’s MicroMarkets have proved particularly attractive as workplaces across Europe have started to re-open and adapt to changes in behaviour since the COVID-19 outbreak. The company now has in excess of 200 installations across Europe. Other operators, with their own branded offers, are also making significant headway.
‘For the right companies… there is an opportunity.’ Paul Hearne
‘Foodie’s contactless, self-serve system is hygienic, easy to clean and supports social distancing measures’, Selecta MD Paul Hearne said. ‘For me, it’s not just about vending, it’s about smart fridges, it’s about micro markets; it’s about being great distributors of great food and drink. The lines between traditional vending and catering are starting to blur, so for the right companies, those that are agile, that have vision, that really think about driving the business forward; there is an opportunity. Thanks to some important technical innovations, our industry is in pole position to advance into territory that has always been seen as the domain of caterers and win new business and new customers.’
And, according to this New Retail Research, micro markets – and all that comes with them – are meeting with the unalloyed approval of the purchasing public.
Access Planet Vending’s archive of ‘Micro Market Microscope’, our curated selection of global unattended retail news, HERE