As Sainsbury’s is under the microscope, is digitalising the way we shop the solution for bricks and mortar stores?

CEO & Founder of Ubamarket – Will Broome

Following the Competition & Markets Authority’s decision to block the £10bn Sainsbury’s and Asda merger, Sainsbury’s is still struggling from this move.

The CMA decided to block the merger after uncovering that this would lead to increased pricing across stores, online and petrol stations, therefore penalising shoppers. This move was to protect the market and shopping experience to benefit those who choose to shop in Sainsbury’s and Asda stores each week.

Retailers have a duty to find a balance in their responsibilities to their employees and consumers in ensuring that food quality, choice and a competitive market is available. Therefore, this levels the playing field between in store and online sectors whilst driving prices down for consumers in the process.

Sainsbury’s has reported a 42% dip in profits whilst promising to increase investments into physical stores, including the technology available for staff and consumers in an attempt to increase sales again. As the second largest supermarket in the UK, Sainsbury’s reported a full-year pre-tax profit of £239m which lags from £409m in the previous year.

READ MORE: Sainsbury’s opens UK’s first ever cashierless grocery store

So, what is the solution for Sainsbury’s? All eyes are now on the supermarket giant to see what Mike Coupe proposes in a bid to generate more revenue. Sainsbury’s kicked off the week with the implementation of retail tech in Holborn Circus store in London.

However, shoppers have noted one of the limitations of this service is that users must already own a nectar card to be able to kick off their till-free shopping experience. Maximising ease and accessibility to solutions such as retail tech is an essential part of a till-free experience.

Whilst this move supports how technological innovation enable supermarket retailers to enrich the shopping experience for consumers whilst broadening their in-store offering, this is not enough. It is certainly beneficial for supermarkets to consider implementing retail tech into their offering in bricks and mortar stores but this needs to be used to its maximum potential. However,  this goes far further than just creating a till-free shopping experience.

Consumers may not be aware that this technology has the capacity to save them money as well as time. Personalised in-store offers and real-time loyalty updates are well within the capacity for this technology and it is essential that retailers implement these additions.

If retailers are going to digitalise shopping then they should allow shoppers to add their shopping lists to the apps, be guided around the store and get more information about the products that they’re buying.

While a great step forward, just being able to scan and go is insufficient – it is crucial to include the full capabilities of this kind of technology.

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