In 2002, after a frustrating trip to a supermarket, Will Broome created Ubamarket – an app that aims to make shopping easier for customers, while making more money for retailers. RN’s Chris Dillon finds out what the future of retail tech could look like: 

Ubamarket Chris Dillon What is Ubamarket?

Will Broome Ubamarket is an app that is designed to bring people in more often, spend a bit more, be more engaged and communicate with customers in the way they want to be. Customers can write their shopping lists, use the app to find where products are located in store, scan items and pay quickly at the tills. A lot of retailers think they will do this sort of thing ‘in the future’, but it is here right now.

CD Who uses Ubamarket?

WB Guy Warner has been trialling the app in his Budgens store in the Cotswolds and it reflects that demographic. The profile of the app user is everyone from an 18-year-old to a 94-year-old. The older shoppers tend to spend a lot more on it and some use it two or three times a day. What we do know is, once someone uses the app, 92% will use it again. In Guy’s store, shoppers that use the app are spending 21% more.

UbamarketCD Will Ubamarket help independents compete with Amazon Go?

WB I feel Amazon Go is like a brilliant concept car that will never quite see the light of the day in the way it has been reported. It is always going to be far too expensive because of the camera infrastructure, the gate, the app and the sensors on the shelves. The RFID chips that they attach to every product are a nightmare because they add 5p to every item you put them on.

At the moment it can only handle one SKU per item – it confuses the system if you have more than one of the same type of thing. People are conditioned to, and like having, their phone in their hand – 82% of people use the notepad of the shopping list. Amazon Go are missing an opportunity because they are not communicating on screen to tell people what the offers are and where the items can be found. I think it will keep evolving and over the next 10 years, it will become something of a hybrid between what we do and Amazon Go.

CD Does the app compromise security?

WB Shoppers understand subconsciously that when they enter the store and use the app they are creating a digital footprint. The retailer knows who is in and at what time.

It is much easier to spot check Ubamarket users than self-checkout users, because the receipt appears on the till when they go to pay. The receipt is also on the phone so you can spot check someone anywhere in the store.

We have released a rating mechanism. If someone fails a spot check, the cashier can tap a button to say they failed the test, and the next time they come in the cashier gets an alert to check them. If someone passes it, it won’t happen for the next 10 shops. The app still has to be paid on a checkout, so it still channels people out of the store by a certain route.

Ubamarket-3.pngCD When will we get to the stage where shoppers can pay without going to a checkout?

WB Ubamarket is fully capable of tapping checkout anywhere in the store and I think that will happen soon, but not for the next couple of years. We’re ready to push the button when retailers are.

To find out more about the impact Ubamarket could have on retailers, click here