According to recent reports, the government is considering a relaxation of Sunday Trading Laws, allowing supermarkets to trade for more than the current six hours that are permitted in England and Wales. Alok Sharma, Business Secretary believes that these Relaxed Trading Laws, that were in place during the London 2012 Olympics, will bring further benefits to shoppers and consumers following the reopening of the retail sector on June 15. This idea has reportedly been supported by 40 MPs on behalf of some retailers that are thought to be supermarket retailers without any significant store estates.
With lockdown slowly beginning to ease, supermarkets and shops are likely to see a huge rush on a variety of outdoor products and certain foods, as thousands of frustrated shoppers begin to buy products to get the most out of their newfound freedom. This potential rush puts shops and supermarkets under considerable pressure, as stores will not only have to ensure they are fully stocked and able to cater to demand, but will also experience further difficulty ensuring that social distancing measures are kept in place amidst mounting queues and slowing rates of circulation in-store
.Will Broome, Founder and CEO of retail shopping app Ubamarket, comments on the relaxation of regulation between supermarkets and offers insight into how retail tech can help retailers to better prepare for the possible oncoming increase in demand:
“The reopening of England’s retail sector on Monday 15 alongside the relaxation of trading laws will inevitably cause higher demand, as more and more people will be looking to make more frequent in-person visits to their local stores to shop for both essential and non-essential goods. As a result of this increased demand for products, and higher numbers of people wanting to shop in-store, supermarkets and stores across Britain face significant challenges.
Making sure to follow the new government guidelines that require the enforcement of social distancing and hygiene measures is incredibly essential, and these protocols may be a cause for concern for retailers, who are worried that they may not be able to provide customers with an efficient ‘in-and-out’ experience, which may lead to fluctuating demand and irregular consumer behaviour.
The implementation of retail technology is one way that Britain's retailers could safeguard themselves this. With the help of retail-tech, supermarkets and stores can access far more in-depth and accurate consumer data, helping them to assess their behaviour, manage stock more efficiently and effectively, whilst being able to effectively communicate directly to the consumer base. By effectively using this technology, retailers will be able to better prepare and deal with unpredictable consumer behaviour and spikes in demand, preventing such a drastic loss of stock which we see today. Implementing solutions such as Ubamarket, which provides features such as aisle sat-nav, remote stock-checking, scan as you shop and till-less checkout, can dramatically reduce time spent in-store, cut-down on queue lengths, and ultimately make the shopping experience far more efficient and safe for customers”.