The Rise of Automation and the Fall of the Retail Business Model

Ben Silver | Which-50 | April 11, 2017

Interesting article on why retailers should be pushing heavily into automation. It just makes you wonder why it’s taking so long. It also questions the fundamentals of the supplier/retailer relationship and highlights how the margin model is fundamentally flawed and essentially unsustainable.

Retailers should be implementing ways that shoppers can get in and out of the store without having to queue, or having to deal with dysfunctional self-checkout machines…. the process could immediately be streamlined.

Why do we still have nearly all stores displaying product/pricing information on tickets rather than e-ink wireless displays connected to systems that can regulate the price of products on the fly.

Why is the supply chain still so manual?  With the huge amounts of data that retailers have on consumers’ historical purchasing behaviours, they should be able to generate models that accurately predict the required quantities of product.

How can retailers continue to force suppliers into margin concessions, unfair business terms and disproportionate demands?

Retail is changing and the volatility we’re seeing now is a result of the emergence and growth of Amazon and consumer behaviour shifts, which incumbents have not been able to keep up with.

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