While the UK left the EU on 31 January this year, trading across various goods with the EU carried on as normal, without any import taxes or tariffs and with no checks occurring on the border. While the trade agreement is still being negotiated, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) recently reported that if there is no breakthrough, 85% of food imported from the EU is expected to face tariffs of more than 5%. Furthermore, food shortages are likely in a no-deal scenario, with the National Audit Office warning that there will be “widespread disruption” from January 1.
Given the damage already suffered by the retail sector as a result of the Coronavirus, retailers now fear that a no-deal Brexit could lead to even further damage, with higher prices driving down the already languishing consumer confidence. Previous data conducted by retail technology pioneers Ubamarket, has found that 59% of Brits (30 million) believe that Brexit will increase the price of food and produce in supermarkets. Food shortages are also a huge cause for concern for both retailer and consumer as evidenced by the stockpiling crisis that occurred during the first few weeks of lockdown. This resulted in supermarket rationing and thousands of customers being unable to access every-day essentials.
Now, it is more important than ever for retailers to prepare for the implications of a no trade deal Brexit, and mobile technology may be the answer in helping to streamline consumer experience. Ubamarket’s latest research displays just why mobile technology is so helpful for customers and retailers alike – it appears that British shopping habits have changed and that greater access to consumer data can help retailers to effectively maintain and grow their consumer base. This research also suggests that a huge proportion of the British public are receptive to using technology to improve their shopping experience:
- 52% of people in the UK (almost 24 million people) are happy for retailers to collect consumer data if they can benefit from money-saving opportunities
- 24% of people in the UK (10 million people)say food retail is the only sector in which they appreciate personalised offers
These statistics show that by implementing mobile technology, there is an opportunity for retailers to improve the customer experience, which may result in increased spending, thus boosting the economy.
Will Broome, CEO of fintech retail app Ubamarket, discusses what a no trade deal Brexit would mean for consumers and retailers alike:
“With Coronavirus at the forefront of everyone’s minds over the past year, many people have pushed the Brexit to the side. However, it is now becoming more apparent that a no trade deal Brexit is likely to have negative effects on UK retail, as prices are set to rise. This is already a cause for concern with the economy already suffering from the implications of COVID. Retailers and consumers alike must be aware and prepared for the inevitable rise in prices, and it is now more important than ever for retailers to streamline the consumer experience.
By implementing mobile technology, retailers can monitor stock levels and with in-app shopping lists, customers can build their list away from the store and check stock levels before even stepping foot in the shop. Furthermore, people that are willing to allow retailers to collect their consumer data, are sure to benefit from money-saving opportunities. Ubamarket’s Scan, Pay, Go app offers push notification-enabled personalised offers, which can review shopping habits and promote selected items to customers, giving them a better experience while helping them manage their shopping budget.
Concerns caused by Coronavirus and a no trade deal Brexit has shown that retail tech, when implemented in the right way, has the capacity to help retailers and consumers alike. By monitoring stock levels, promoting cheaper alternatives and quelling steep price rises, millions of consumers are seeing the benefits of streamlined and personalised shopping.”