Bother attacks the antiquated supermarket model
As panic buying kickstarts again, a new digital retailer hits the UK, offering Brits a solution to the pain points of the weekly shop during COVID-19 and beyond
The nation is gearing up for the second lockdown to hit the UK this year. Reports show the start of a potential repetition of long queues, vanishing delivery slots and empty shelves, illustrating a general inability of supermarkets to cope with increasing demand and failing supply.
However, according to Doug Morton, founder of new household delivery service, Bother, these inefficiencies were here long before the COVID-19 outbreak, with the pandemic simply shining a light and acting as a catalyst to the urgent need for reform of the outdated, traditional UK supermarket business model.
Grocery shopping as we know it hasn’t changed since the 1960s when customers needed somewhere they could go to get everything in one place – a one stop shop. However, this isn’t reflective of how we live our lives now. There is no need for our lemons to be stored with our dishwasher tablets, we don’t need to spend hours scrolling through hundreds of variations of washing powders or attempt the weekly supermarket and have to carry heavy bags home. The way we shop now is massively inefficient for our wallets, our time and for the environment. Research* actually found that we are now a generation of subscription users –at least 57 per cent of Brits have a subscription. This just goes to show the upward trend we’re likely to see in the coming years, with people opting to shop fresh and locally for every day food items, whilst letting subscription services take control of the boring bits. This will allow us more time to focus on the more important aspects of our day to day lives. No other national supermarket prioritises this.
This is where Bother comes in, as a household tool which is set to shake up the UK market. The premise is simple: shop local for your fresh goods, and Bother will take care of the boring household basics – from baked beans to loo roll to tampons.
During the first wave of COVID-19, at Bother we expedited our plan to launch, offering essential supplies to key workers and the NHS in an effort to relieve pressure where it was needed most. Six months later and a full nationwide launch under our belt, Bother is growing by 200%+ week on week, which continues to gather speed. However, this exponential growth is not a direct result of the COVID outbreak, which instead simply highlighted some of the gaps within the market where there are broader, more ingrained issues.
Taking the Bother out of shopping
How we shop has changed tenfold in the last few years. Yes, Ocado, Amazon, all of these major brands do offer household products at the touch of a button. In fact, you could spend hours upon hours scrolling through – comparing prices, sizes, brands, scents, offers, but this is where we see issue. The sheer choice that customers are faced with every day makes shopping for the easy things actually very confusing. We want to simplify that choice. There are certain things that you don’t want to have to spend ages choosing, you just want the same thing every time. We see this mostly with washing detergents, liquids, hand soaps and toiletries. Bother curates the best brands for the best price. An algorithm driving its unique Bother Brain™ predicts when customers are running out of household items and creates a shopping basket which reminds them to replenish. Customers can edit and add to their basket but have already saved a significant amount of time by not having to create their basket from scratch each time.
We are seen as a household management tool, that lives in homes, lives on phones, and takes away the unnecessary time lost on remembering to buy the boring bits, or figure out which deal is better than another online. We simplify household shopping so our customers can win back this time to focus on the things that really matter.
Better for our time, pockets, and the environment
Not only is saving customers time and money at the heart of everything Bother is about, but we are also committed to the environment and improving the negative impact shopping has on our carbon footprint.
Right now, how we shop is massively inefficient for the environment – this is mostly in the storage and delivery. It might surprise some to learn that when purchasing perishable fresh food alongside non-perishable foods, fresh products need to be wrapped in plastic. This plastic alone is responsible for more than 50% of the unrecycled plastic waste in the UK. This is what sets us apart at Bother- unlike supermarkets, the delivery vans do not require refrigeration, so are fit for purpose, and products are transported in an environmentally friendly cardboard box with no unnecessary extra plastic.
Another important aspect of shopping that needs to be looked at is in box economics. Whilst the average Amazon order will see 1.3 products per box, we are already seeing an average of 15 items per box. We don’t want customers to feel like they need to order a box from us every day, or even every week. Our aim is for customers to receive an average of one box a month which will contain all of the household goods they need until the next arrives the following month, and gradually reduce our customers average household carbon footprint.
The way we see shopping is that buying fresh food and shopping for our household are two completely separate entities that need separate mentalities. Already, even before the COVID outbreak, there was an upwards trend towards supporting local suppliers and producers, alongside new subscription services such as recipes boxes. The market showed that people were already pivoting to bring back localism in their daily shops, and to use their local butchers or green grocers to buy fresh ingredients. In fact, research found that the market value of subscription services will be up to £1 billion by 2022 as customers let these services handle the more time-consuming aspects of their lives and help them to shop more efficiently. We want to support this mentality – to support the independent shops and encourage our customers to buy fresh ingredients local and for everything else, choose Bother. People shouldn’t need to go into a store every few days because they forgot to get the washing up liquid, they’ve run out of dishwasher tablets – multiple trips, multiple times a week.
Our ethos is simple, to rid the world of boring shopping, help the environment, make lives easier. We Bother, so you don’t have to.”