For the past five years, Will Broome has been developing an app to help retailers deliver the ultimate shopping experience.
Ubamarket, Broome’s app, works by organising users’ shopping lists so that items are displayed in order of how they are stocked in the shopper’s store of choice. It also helps them save money, and stores data to inform retailers which items and promotions are appealing to their customers.
Broome said his inspiration came from noticing consumers had “fallen out of love” with grocery shopping; a claim that was recently backed up by a study that found more than a quarter of people had turned away from frequent visits to large supermarkets.
Here’s how Ubamarket could help retailers take advantage of shoppers’ changing priorities:
- It delivers convenience and value
The free app asks users to enter their shopping list, which will be rearranged into the order they will come across the items as they move around the store. Ubamarket also tells shoppers which items are the best value for money.
As they shop, users can scan the items they pick up, and scan a single QR code at the checkout to pay for them. Later this year, shoppers using the app will also be given the option to pay on their mobiles.
- The app’s being tested in a ‘prototype’ store
On September 12, Ubamarket will be “switched on” for use in Guy Warner’s Budgens store in Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire.
Broome said that Warner’s store has “every single element” that needs to be tested against Ubamarket technology.
“For example, it needs to be able to recognise items from the deli that are bought by the slice or by weight,” he said. “There’s about 15,000 items in that store, and we need to make sure that every single item will scan.”
Following a testing period, Ubamarket will be rolled out to the other five stores in Warner’s Cotswolds chain, and then to stores affiliated with POS provider HTEC.
“Eventually we hope to be able to tune the app into stores around the country,” Broome said.
- Loyalty uptake would be 100%
Loyalty schemes will be used every time a purchase is made using Ubamarket, as everything is stored digitally.
“Loyalty uptake will be 100%, as the app will automatically use stores’ loyalty schemes with any purchase,” Broome said. “People won’t have to rummage around searching for cards.
“Ubamarket records everything, so retailers can see what offers shoppers are susceptible to. They can get an insight into trends in much more detail than ever before, and can contact customers with much more relevant information.”
- It’s designed to create a ‘hybrid experience’
While convenience is a priority, it fits into a wider set of factors that create an enjoyable experience for shoppers.
“Great shopping experiences can be delivered through personalisation and engagement, as well as convenience and value for money,” Broome said.
“People want a hybrid experience – they want the convenience of shopping online as well as the instore experience.”
In order to make shopping as smooth as possible, Ubamarket has designed signage to place above aisles that sort stores into zones; the app will tell shoppers which zone specific items are in.
“It’s a really simple solution to mapping stores,” Broome said. “It makes the shopping experience simple and convenient – huge retailers are trying to do this but it’s difficult for them to be nimble.”
Some retailers have raised concerns that Ubamarket might increase the prevalence of shoplifting; Broome argued that the app’s recording of shoppers’ actions would prevent this from happening.
“Ubamarket records consumers’ actions in-store, meaning shoppers leave a detailed ‘digital footprint’ and are therefore far more conspicuous,” he said.
“Details can be accessed by the store, which is a major breakthrough for in-store security, as Ubamarket’s behavioural mapping and receipt tracking will make it far easier to pinpoint any missing or unpaid stock items and align it with anyone that has been in that aisle or section at a particular time.
“We firmly believe that a streamlined operation can co-exist with a crime free one too.”