With more and more people shopping online, managing the supply chain, and particularly delivery, is one of the biggest challenges for retailers at the moment. This theme was explored in a few different ways at WIRED Retail, the magazine's annual conference for the industry.
CommonSense Robotics presented about the micro-fulfilment centre network they are building which will allow retailers to use on-demand services. When you bring Drone delivery into the mix, these facilities will allow retailers to deliver products almost instantaneously, supporting the instant gratification customers want. Speed was another topic explored and retailers need to be able to keep up with the competition.
In addition, Stowga won the Start-Up Showcase with its on-demand warehousing platform for retailers to manage their stock better in times of uncertainty. With Brexit, retailers have questions about how consumer spending will change so when they are tied into long leases for warehouses they could lose money.
Despite being the back end of the supply chain, these technologies have the power to change people's experiences of shopping in a big way. Stowga's founder said its tech was 'unsexy' but when there's an end result for the retailer and the consumer, there's always a creative story that can be developed. Professionals in the retail industry are keen to learn from how their peers are operating. Showcasing this through case studies and storytelling based on the benefits should be central to communications to show the power of these innovative back end technologies.
“We’re in the business of moving things faster,” Goren says. “What we’re basically building are the logistics that allow things to move faster and more cheaply within cities. And we’re doing that by building a new type of supply chain – and that’s not necessarily limited to retail. The first-world is a way in. But moving goods within cities faster while saving on space and being more efficient in the resources you use is something that’s relevant for New York and San Francisco and London.