This article is part of Raydiant’s new Future of Retail series which interviews the world’s leading retail experts to better understand how the industry has evolved and most importantly, where it’s headed.
The following is from an interview with Kristen Moore, Chief Marketing Officer of inVia Robotics
** This interview was conducted prior to the Coronavirus outbreak expansion**
What personally excites you the most about the retail industry?
KM: I’m most excited about the non-sexy part of the retail industry, the back-end logistics. We have an exciting challenge to bring greater efficiencies into the omnichannel order fulfillment process. This will require greater visibility into inventory levels and locations, which is made even more challenging when trying to integrate store replenishment and direct-to-consumer data. There has been a lot of focus on using technology to improve the front-end that’s customer-facing, whether it’s merchandising, product reviews, or retargeted advertising. Businesses are now turning that focus toward ensuring customer satisfaction by optimizing logistics to get the right product to the customer on-time.
What has been the most dramatic change you’ve seen in the industry over the past 3-5 years?
KM: The most dramatic change has been the shift to comfort levels of buying products online, and a big part of that is willingness to store payment data online. Once consumers were comfortable with that, it paved the way for businesses to create simpler user experiences where they could click one button on their phone. This removed so much friction in the online shopping process and really opened the floodgates for orders.
What are the top trends you see shaping brick and mortar retail in the next 3-5 years?
KM: I think the biggest trend we’ll see is the stores becoming showrooms where consumers can experience and touch & feel products, and then place their order to be delivered or picked up in-store later. The storage of all the myriad SKUs that consumers could ever want will consolidate in a warehouse distribution center, and minimal if any stock will be kept at store locations.
What technology do you believe will have the biggest impact on the retail industry in the next 3-5?
KM: Automation will have the biggest impact on retail. One of the biggest challenges businesses are facing now is finding skilled, reliable labor. This is especially true in retail fulfillment logistics. The increasing demands of consumers to have a broader selection of products and to receive them faster will create a breaking point within the given tight labor market. Additional labor resources will have to be added, and robots are a no-brainer. They are reliable, precise, and in endless supply.
What’s the future of brick and mortar retail?
KM: I think the future of retail is also the biggest trend. We’ll see stores becoming showrooms where consumers can experience and touch & feel products, and then place their order to be delivered or picked up in-store later. The storage of all the myriad SKUs that consumers could ever want will consolidate in a warehouse distribution center, and minimal if any stock will be kept at store locations.