Future Of Retail: How Brands Should Handle Automation In 2019 [Forbes]

In today’s Forbes article, J. P. Gownder, VP and principal analyst at Forrester, dives into the challenges that retailers face in automating across different use cases in their business. He states that “The issue with analytics is true for anybody — you have data silos that don’t connect.” Fortunately, that is why we created Slync! He also states that retailers will need to hire omnichannel experts who can trace the entire business process and execute the move from brick-and-mortar to something more holistic of digital and in-store. He further states “Managing multiple chains of automation — from pick-and-pack robots in warehouses to inventory monitoring and management to software bots that help execute supply chain management — will require new skills from employees.” It will be interesting to see how automation in the retail space unfolds.

The evolution of retail and customer expectations [Supply Chain Dive]

Online retail has grown 300% from 2000 to 2018 and mobile devices and social media proliferated, the balance of power has shifted. Consumers are deciding when, where, and how they shop. Increasingly, they are shopping online. Ninety-six percent of Americans have made at least one online purchase and 51% of those surveyed say they prefer to shop online. Shippers face faster turn times, a need to provide end-to-end logistics and supply chain visibility, opportunities to extend their brands from a website into homes, and tighter compliance and regulations from retailers. Everything must move more quickly. There is a reduced margin for error or disruption across supply chains because consumers are demanding goods faster than ever. Two-day shipping has become the norm; consumers expect fast, free shipping for their purchases once they place an order. In a recent survey, 96% of survey participants said the availability of free shipping impacts their purchase decision.

Report: Digital transformation spending to reach $1.18T this year [Supply Chain Dive]

Digital transformation (DX) spending is expected to reach about $1.18 trillion in2019, an increase of almost 18% compared to 2018. As clearly evident from the IDC forecasting report, businesses that have invested heavily in DX over the last 2-3 years are already reaping the rewards in terms of faster revenue growth and stronger net profits compared to businesses lagging in DX initiatives and investments. Besides manufacturing, retail and transportation are the two sectors expected to invest the most in digital transformation. Each of these industries will be pursuing a different mix of strategic priorities, from omnichannel commerce for the retail industry to digital supply chain optimization in the transportation industry and facility management – transforming workspace in professional services. One of the drivers of this transformation in retail is the movement into omnichannel strategies by retailers of all sizes. This had led to the adoption of technologies like augmented reality to allow consumers to see what they're buying in context, even if shopping on a smartphone, and predictive analytics to try and optimize inventory level.

Biggest Retail Strike Since 2003 Sent Shoppers to Competition [Bloomberg]

Even as Walmart Inc. and Target Corp. get battered by rival Amazon.com Inc.’s decision to speed up free shipping, the mega-retailers do have something to cheer. The big box giants were two of the winners as Stop & Shop’s 11-day strike sent New England shoppers flocking to competitors. The work stoppage at Dutch-Belgian retailer Ahold Delhaize’s biggest U.S. banner was the largest strike in the retail sector since 2003 and sent sales plummeting more than 80 percent at the chain’s stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. The strike, which ended over Easter weekend when the retailer reached a tentative agreement with local unions, also prompted Ahold Delhaize to lower its full-year profit forecast. Walmart, the nation’s biggest grocer, and fellow mass merchant Target were able to capture a chunk of the spending that was up for grabs.

Walmart just opened a 50,000 square foot store of the future [Business Insider]

Walmart has opened a new retail store to test some of the concepts its been working on in Levittown, New York. Walmart has modified a 50,000-square-foot neighborhood market — its in-house term for a grocery-focused store called the Intelligent Retail Lab focusing on inventory and availability. The store will use a combination of both cameras and analytics to trigger out-of-stock alerts for employees when a customer takes the last item, so the store can quickly restock. The idea is that will lead to less friction in the shopping experience, and customers will find the item they need on the shelf more often than not, and it will be more efficient to keep that experience consistent.

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to check out last week’s news and stay tuned for our next Friday Five roundup.

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