With a pandemic ravaging the planet, the year 2020 would remain etched in our memories for the longest time to come. Nevertheless, it helped us realise how critical logistics and supply chains have been in these grave times of need and how big box retailers have had to undergo a massive transformation. A McKinsey report revealed that sweeping technological changes that would have taken a decade to take place had taken place in under 6 months.
With digital being the new mainstream of retailing and consumer behavior is going through a sea of change, 2021 is set to become yet another milestone year for big box retailers. Here are 5 key trends that will affect the face of retail in 2021.
The biggest hit in the retail consumer experience while transitioning from offline to online has been the one on personalization. For brands, especially in big box retail, it is an unseen but largely felt affinity that arises due to personalization. It could be store layout, temperature, packaging, association for a very long time or a plethora of other factors that make the trip to the super store a unique experience. This goes for a toss in omni-channel retail and brands need to figure out how they can preserve personalization to create differentiated customer experiences.
The next big thing in logistics is automation. With the dynamic nature of demand, unavailability of resources, for different operations such as fulfilment, warehousing, deliveries, retailers are turning to automation to address these challenges. This not only helps them address efficiency issues but also helps them cut costs significantly. It also paves a quicker way to offer new services and innovative offerings such as dynamic delivery speeds, new ways to manage order fulfillment etc.
#3 Autonomous Logistics
While it might be a long way before drones and driverless deliveries become mainstream, some retailers on the leading edge of innovation are already running trial runs. This year would be critical for retailers to try and scale these innovations and bring them more into the mainstream.
One of the biggest changes that would stay is the need to continually evolve. While it sounds lofty to achieve, there is but little choice to shy away from it because as we had mentioned earlier, the magnitude of disruption was several fold. Evolving IT systems and technology while there’s a lot of baggage in terms of legacy systems is a daunting task. Retailers need to embrace more malleable, elastic and customizable to quickly shapeshift and adapt to the changing needs of the market.
While touch interfaces were the coolest thing to happen a decade ago, the new age demands of social distancing and the paranoia around physical contact has led to the complete opposite. Contactless or more so importantly touchless experiences are the new normal. Retailers are holding safety as their top priority and this means to make every experience as touch-free as possible. This is boosting investment around contactless interfaces, touch-less deliveries and going digital in a big way.
Are you equipped enough to meet the challenges in the new normal?
With 2020 just triggering a wave of changes, 2021 will be a key year where enterprises will be seen planning not just for the current year but the next decade. They will deploy future-ready technology that embraces the evolving nature of modern-day customer demands. Hence, investing in intelligent logistics that forms the bedrock of keeping operations up and running even during times of disruption is the smart way forward.
To learn more about FarEye’s intelligent logistics platform, sign up for a demo here.