As technology makes inroads into the retail industry, companies continuously look to introduce innovative business models and technology-driven processes. On the other hand, with easy access to the internet, wide reach of mobile networks and innovative tech platforms, consumers now can view and be intrigued by the best of products and facilities over the World Wide Web. Find, click, consume – that’s the constant cycle. But how do businesses keep up with this trend?
The answer lies in logistics. As consumers demand more and expect their products to reach them fast and efficiently, businesses need to plan their logistical expertise to hold an upper hand in this game.
If we had to pick a few key trends that might shape the future of logistics in the retail sector in 2020:
1. The AI Imperative
Retail businesses have already had experimented with automated picking and packing for years. But as the sector witnesses more AI-driven use cases, the scope of its usage in managing and executing logistics also increases. As the need for faster and same-day deliveries balloon, savvy retailers are leveraging AI-powered algorithms to plan efficient delivery routes, predict delays, ensure intelligent dispatching, and mitigate risks and more.
2. The Age of Automation
Shying away from this emerging trend is not an option anymore, especially if you are in charge of retail logistics. Manual methods of executing logistics are a deterrent to the growing need for satisfying customer expectations, improving delivery margins and ensuring scale. Automation is the key to achieving these goals. Future-ready retail businesses are automating inventory management, task allocation, route planning, returns management and more to deliver never before seen logistics efficiencies. Modern logistics platforms automatically send notifications to customers keeping them updated on the delivery progress.
3. The Big Data Boost
Big data analytics have already proved its mettle for the logistics industry. With regards to retail, Big Data is already empowering businesses to understand customer behavior, accurately up sell and cross-sell products. Moving ahead the enormous amounts of data generated by IoT powered delivery fleet will empower businesses to make accurate and fast decisions with regards to in-transit freight movement. The rapid adoption of this technology in the times ahead will also help businesses anticipate busy periods, potential supply shortage and craft insights for making strategic strides.
4. The Coming of Age for Autonomous Deliveries
Autonomous and drone deliveries are increasingly being experimented with numerous companies in the West already testing and implementing this breakthrough technology successfully. Consultant McKinsey & Co. predicts that in less than a decade, 80 percent of all items will be delivered autonomously. If this comes true, this could be termed as a phenomenal achievement! With this, Retail companies are going to experience a bundle of improvements in terms of shorter delivery times leading to more deliveries being fulfilled, greater customer satisfaction, enhanced operational efficiency which in turn will propel massive revenue growth for them. Another significant advantage for businesses would be a huge reduction in costs.
Adoption of these trends and technologies by the retail sector will surely make 2020 one of its biggest years. Innovation and efficiency emerging from these technologies at the end will not only benefit customers but also push the retail industry ahead and give pioneers in business who implement these technologies a competitive advantage.
The article has been written by Kushal Nahata CEO Co-founder FarEye