Summer 2020: The Return of British Retail

Summer 2020: The Return of British Retail

Britain’s retailers now have a timeline according to which they can plan for their return to trading, but how will they fare in a retail landscape after Coronavirus?

In his televised address this past Sunday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced an easing of lockdown restrictions in Britain, stating that non-essential retailers across the country will begin to re-open from June 1st.

For the past two months, only essential stores such as supermarkets, off licences and pharmacies have been allowed to remain open during the coronavirus lockdown. However, non-essential retailers, including fashion outlets, food and drink retailers could be allowed to reopen their bricks-and-mortar stores to the public, provided they meet Covid-19 safety guidelines.

Whilst a return to trading represents an opportunity for ailing retailers to enjoy much-needed custom, the retail landscape to which they are set to return is vastly different from the one they left some weeks ago. With the Coronavirus having a considerable impact across every layer of society, how can retailers best ensure that their return is successful?

Will Broome, Founder and CEO of retail tech pioneers Ubamarket, is one industry expert who believes that the reopening of British retail represents an opportunity for flexible businesses, who are willing to adapt their operations and services, to get the jump on their competitors and thrive in the new retail arena:

Despite the havoc that is being caused by the outbreak of the Coronavirus, I believe that the crisis is bringing into focus a number of pre-existing problems with the way in which we shop. Ever-changing store layouts, outdated queues and checkouts, and the lack of communication between retailers and their customers are just some of the issues that COVID-19 has made very clear. 

Now, the question facing retailers is not ‘when will things go back to normal’ but rather ‘how can we adapt our offering to make sure we are aligned with the changing trends and new retail landscape?’

The implementation of retail technology holds the key to building the future of retail that supports our new shopping habits whilst also helping retailers to safeguard themselves against future cases of irregular consumer behaviour. After Coronavirus, the world won’t go back to how was – people will be more hygienic and convenience-conscious, and retailers will be looking for ways to adapt to the shift in consumer behaviour and protect themselves against future shortages.

Retail tech offers an all-encompassing solution; in Ubamarket’s case in the form of a simple app; which can put consumers in control, doing away with the need for time-consuming queues, unhygienic checkouts, and confusion about where products are and whether they are in stock. 

I for one am extremely interested to see how the retail landscape in the UK will emerge from the Coronavirus crisis, but if one thing is certain, it is the capability of retail technology to help us build the future of retail that we would like to see.”

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