Shifting sands of shopping logistics
Jan 29, 2021 Comments (0)
Click and collect was forecast to account for 13.9%* of sales by 2022. Together with curbside drops, it certainly proved a fulfilment lifeline for retailers to keep selling in the severely curtailed trading conditions of Covid.
So the news that click and collect in non-essential retail is now banned in Scotland and Northern Ireland - possibly to be followed shortly by England – has further pulled the rug out for retailers.
Justifiably, retail associations criticised the woefully short notice given for the ban saying the measures only exacerbated the financial and operational burdens already facing their members. But being fleet of foot is what’s critical in these relentless shifting sands of Covid. It is agility, together with visibility, that’s going to help steer retail through the current landscape to a post-pandemic world and both are driven by technology.
This month, SOTI published† its most recent report, From ‘Bricks to clicks: Navigating the retail revolution’, from which it predicted four trends:
1. Technology will create a new look for retailers post-pandemic
2. Autonomous deliveries will gather momentum
3. Omnichannel experiences will be greatly enhanced
4. Mobile technology will transform the chain
As reported by Manufacturing & Logistics IT this month, we are already starting to see advances in autonomous deliveries with brands like the Co-Op trailblazing the way for convenience stores by using robots to deliver locally.
A new post-pandemic look seems a long way off in these locked down times but it begs the question of where retailers should be focusing their efforts, short-term or long term? I am going to borrow a phrase coined by marketing professor, Mark Ritson last year and say ‘Bothism’. They need to be looking both at what they need to do in the short-term to survive as well as how they can meet future shopping expectations.
SOTI† found that over three quarters (76%) of shoppers want personalised in-store experiences from mobile devices, and a further 67% believe retailers using mobile technology provide a faster shopping experience.
Retailers that fully grasp the impact of the current situation, that understand the complexities of ecommerce and adapt their business models accordingly will ultimately be the ones that maximise their online and bricks and mortar sales. The meteoric Covid shift to online buying has seen two industries, retail and transport and logistics, converge. As Honeywell1 rightly observed, we can no longer analyse these sectors as two separate entities. It claims retailers with no omnichannel strategies are being left behind; indeed some may have to shut up shop for good.
The ban on click and collect and other trading curtailments are forcing retailers to fast-track their digital strategies just to survive. And mobile technology is going to be fairly high on their shopping list. When implemented with the right approaches, mobile technologies together with IoT will transform legacy systems and physical assets into a responsive, efficient and customer-focused network.
In a week that saw Boohoo acquire the Debenhams brand, and Asos poised to potentially buy some Arcadia brands, things are shifting very fast and dramatically in retail. The click and collect ban may only be temporary and, in the interim, some non-essential retailers may have to invest in more warehousing and distribution just to meet demand. The sands are shifting very fast but unless retailers start working smarter we could in danger of losing even more High Street names.
* Source: Globaldata https://store.globaldata.com/report/vr0104ch--click-collect-in-the-uk-2017-2022/
1 Souce: Honeywell report: When retail and logistics converge
Renovotec is the UK’s largest independent rugged hardware and maintenance, software and services company. Managing Director Richard Gilliard has helped lead the organisation for over 25 years, supporting customers across many sectors including warehousing and distribution, transport and logistics, manufacturing, retail, healthcare, seaports and field mobility. Richard's drive is to enable firms through…