The Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic and ongoing lockdown measures that have been implemented in many countries have changed shopping habits. Many supermarkets are now enforcing social distancing within stores and the use of cash has halved over the past week in the UK, with some stores refusing to accept cash payments.
However, touchscreens found at self-checkouts and card payment machines in stores across the country could contribute to the spread of coronavirus in supermarkets, according to Ubamarket.
Although Covid-19 is most commonly spread by through droplets when a person coughs and sneezes, the use of touch screens, such as those used in supermarket self-service checkouts, risks spreading the virus if hands are not washed sufficiently afterwards.
According to a study by the National Institute of Health, the Sars-CoV-2 virus can survive on plastic and stainless steel for two to three days, and it is though that Covid-19 has similar survival times.
Ubamarket’s mobile app allows customers to scan products as they shop, bypassing tills and queues by paying for their shopping in-app. This not only reduces the time customers have to spend in-store, but also reduces contact between shoppers and employees.
Combating the coronavirus in supermarkets
Retailers such as Marks and Spencer, Co-op, Sainsbury’s, Spar and Londis have all rolled out ‘Mobile Pay Go’ payment options, according to Retail & Leisure International, and Amazon currently has cashierless stores in 25 locations in the US, but the coronavirus pandemic may lead other retailers to re-think their in-store experience in favour of app-centric payment options.
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Will Broome, CEO of Ubamarket said:
“The outbreak of Covid-19 has highlighted a number of areas in which Britain’s grocers can improve by making the shopping experience far more hygienic and convenient for customers, not only for the current circumstances, but moving forward.
“Retail tech such as Ubamarket will help supermarkets to do just that, by 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. What’s more, on the retailer side, stores which implement retail tech solutions will be able to 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.”