Technology is in the process of completely transforming all aspects of 4 industries – construction, medicine, retail, and transport – with a significant reduction in the need for human labor. Here is the impact on the Retail Industry:
- Product manufacture (including food preparation) is being automated, using such technologies as robotics, CAD, and additive (3D or 4D) manufacturing. Many products are being customized to specific customer specifications.
- The supply chain that transports products to warehouses and onward to stores or customer locations will be automated by the use of autonomous robots, cars, trucks, trains and ships – with tracking based on paperless blockchains.
- Fully-automated warehouses are already in use, which replace workers with robots and conveyor belts to stock and retrieve products, and to fill orders
- Retail stores are changing their primary functions from the traditional look-touch-buy to look-touch-pickup (soon with the use of augmented reality technology), with ordering and payment via the internet. For groceries, look-touch-buy is being achieved without cashiers or sales staff or couriers. Most products sold on the internet will be delivered directly to customers’ homes by autonomous systems (vehicles or drones or robots).
- Customer support is using AI to handle automatically the majority of queries and concerns, while in-store support (including restaurant wait staff and hosts) will be provided by robots.
The number of jobs in the retailing process is being significantly reduced. There is already limited need for cashiers, sales staff, and warehouse workers. Fast food workers and restaurant wait staff will be replaced by robots. Supply chain workers (such as truck drivers and dispatchers and document handlers) will no longer be needed. This is already starting in a few places, but, as the cost of the new technologies drop (which will happen at an accelerating rate), expect much of this to be standard in 5-10 years (and earlier if the minimum wage keeps increasing).
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Warehouse robots make same-day delivery possible (Robotics/Warehousing – 2019-07 – ZDNet)
Supply chains using blockchain improve food safety (Blockchain – 2019-04 – TechRepublic)
A Mini Bakery that is actually a robot bakery (Robotics/Retail – 2017-10 – ZDNet)
4 trends that are changing the way we shop (AI/Retail – 2017-07 – ZDNet)
Future use of robots in the home(Robotics/Home – 2018-04 – ZDNet)
6 more cashier-free Amazon Go stores could be coming in 2018 (AI/Stores – 2018-02 – TechRepublic)
What it’s like to shop at an Amazon Go store (AI/Automated Store – 2018-01 – ZDNet)
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Blockchain-based platform addresses food safety concerns in China (Retail/Food Safety - 2019-06 - CoinDesk)
Walmart China has launched a blockchain-based platform aimed to address food safety concerns in China, including 23 product lines tested and listed, with another 100 planned by the end of 2019.
Last-mile delivery system: An autonomous local logistics hub paired with a robotic delivery truck (Courier/AI - 2019-06 - ZDNet)
Boxbot, a California delivery logistics startup, unveiled its autonomous last-mile delivery system: An automated local hub where packages are received, sorted, and prepped for delivery, along with a fleet of street-based driverless vehicles.
Domino’s will launch robot deliveries for Houston residents late in 2019 (Courier/AI - 2019-06 - Wired)
Later in 2019, Nuro’s robot will start delivering Domino’s pies and cheesy breads to customers in the Houston area. The R2 vehicle is about half the size of a sedan and is made exclusively for carrying goods. Customers will be issued a code to enter into a screen on the bot that opens one of its two compartments.
Amazon’s new robot can pack 600+ boxes/hour (Warehousing/Robotics - 2019-05 - ExtremeTech)
Amazon has installed $1+ million robots in its facilities that can pack 6-700 boxes/hour, and wrap packages inside custom-assembled boxes, operating at 4-5 times a worker’s rate. The robots may be installed at dozens of warehouses, eliminating about 24 positions/warehouse.
A team of robots fulfills an order in 1 hour (Order Fulfillment/Robotics - 2019-04 - ZDNet)
By harnessing networks of tiny automated hubs, micro-fulfillment could enable retailers to store their goods in the hearts of cities while still benefiting from the efficiency of automation. CommonSense Robotics has achieved its first 1-hour fulfillment delivery in partnership with an Israeli health and beauty retailer.
Walmart to use nearly 4,000 more robots in stores (Stores/Robotics - 2019-04 - Fox Business)
Walmart is adding >3,900 robots in stores to help monitor inventory, clean floors and unload trucks, including 1,500 new autonomous floor cleaners, 300 additional shelf scanners, 1,200 unloaders and 900 new pickup towers.
Food and medication from local Australian businesses to be delivered by drone (Courier/Drone - 2019-04 - MIT Technology Review)
Alphabet’s drone division, Wing, has launched its first public delivery service for about 100 homes in Canberra, Australia, processing orders for food and medication from 12 local businesses to be delivered by drone in minutes. Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority granted regulatory approval after an 18-month trial involving 3,000 deliveries.
Albertsons is the latest grocery store to adopt the blockchain-based system for tracing food from farm to store shelf (Food/Blockchain - 2019-04 - TechRepublic)
IBM continues to expand the blockchain-based Food Trust network to improve the way food is traced from farm to grocery store, with Albertsons Companies piloting food safety measures in its 2,300 stores across the US,
Trade organization ICC supports blockchain adoption for 45 million members (Blockchain/Supply Chain - 2019-04 - CoinDesk)
The Paris-based 100-year-old International Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Singapore-based blockchain startup Perlin to improve supply chain processes for its 45 million members (from 130 countries), making the processes more traceable and transparent.
6,000 US store closures announced in 1Q2019, more than for all of 2018 (AI - 2019-04 - Business Insider)
A Coresight Research report found 5,994 store closings announced in 1Q2019, compared with 5,864 in all of 2018. Some retailers, including Fred’s and Family Dollar, are closing select stores in a bid to stay profitable, while chains like Payless have announced they are shuttering all of their stores.
Walmart unveils an AI-powered store of the future, now open to the public (Stores/AI - 2019-04 - TechCrunch)
Walmart unveiled a “store of the future” in Levittown, NY for testing emerging technologies, including AI-enabled ceiling-mounted cameras and interactive displays. The store has 50,000 sq. ft retail space, is staffed by 100+ employees, and offers 30,000+ items. The store has traditional checkout stations, and the cameras monitor inventory levels, determining replenishment or replacement needs.
Startup to launch smart beauty shopping service in Dubai Mall's Galeries Lafayette (Personal Services/AI - 2019-04 - Samsung)
The beauty AI startup ‘lululab’ unveiled its AI Beauty Store, an unmanned virtual store in Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping mall. The service offered includes self-skin analysis using a single selfie with a multispectral camera, recommended products, and an outcome report.
FedEx partners with Walmart, Pizza Hut to test last-mile delivery robot (Courier/Robotics - 2019-03 - Reuters)
This summer, FedEx Corp plans to test a robot to handle home deliveries for partners ranging from Walmart Inc to Pizza Hut. The battery-powered robot will look like a cooler on wheels, and be developed by DEKA Development & Research Corp, travelling at a top speed of 10 mph.
Fast food drive-thru using AI to take orders (Fast Food/AI - 2019-02 - Futurism.com)
Colorado-based startup Valyant AI announced the launch of a voice-based AI customer service platform, which is now taking customer orders at the drive-thru at Denver’s Good Times Burgers and Frozen Custard.
Online & brick retail declines as consumerism declines among millennials in Western World (Dept Stores/AI - 2019-02 - TheConversation.com)
British retail giants saw Christmas sales lowest since 2008, amidst 93,000 UK retail jobs lost in 2018. Marks and Spencers is closing 100 stores.
Tesla is closing all its stores, only selling on-line (Automotive - 2019-02 - Axios)
Tesla is launching its $35,000 Model 3, but to meet its target price, the company is closing all of its 378 stores worldwide, laying off retail employees and shifting all sales online. (NRA: This is the future of all automotive sales.)
Flying robot scans shelves faster than clerks or ground robots (Drones - 2019-01 - ZDNet)
Pensa is a New York company that makes an autonomous mobile perception system to track inventory in stores. Pensa uses drones which are faster, quieter and less obtrusive than ground robots.
500 robots infiltrate US grocery stores to identify safety hazards (Store Safety/Robotics - 2019-01 - Technology.org)
US GIANT/MARTIN’S and Stop & Shop grocery stores will deploy nearly 500 autonomous robots after successful pilot runs that improved store safety and efficiency. The robots identify safety hazards such as liquid, powder, and bulk food spills, and then apply corrective actions.
US grocery giant Kroger has started making completely autonomous deliveries (Retail/Courier - 2018-12 - MIT Technology Review)
Postmates has launched a delivery robot that will bring lunch to your door (Retail/Delivery - 2018-12 - MIT Technology Review)
On-line order fulfillment centre can process 65,000 orders/week (Retail/Grocery - 2018-12 - PC Mag)
A robotic bartender who serves drinks ordered through a phone app (Retail/Restaurants - 2018-12 - Reuters)
Robots are cooking in fast food restaurants (Retail/Restaurants - 2018-12 - BBC)
Burger restaurant has fully-automated kitchen (Retail/Restaurants - 2018-12 - BBC Future)
Amazon and Walmart add more robots, but insist they won’t terminate jobs (Retail - 2018-12 - FastCompany)
Amazon's Go stores will use biometrics instead of cashiers to perform checkout (Retail/Facial Recognition - 2018-11 - Biometric Update)
Alibaba's Tmall and Ford have a vehicle 'vending machine (Retail/Automobile - 2018-11 - ZDNet)
Providing customers with any groceries, anytime, and anywhere in U.S. (Retail/Food Services - 2018-11 - MIT Technology Review)
7-Eleven is piloting cashier-less stores (Retail/Cashier-less stores - 2018-11 - TechCrunch)
Amazon is hiring fewer workers this holiday season, a sign that robots are replacing them (Retail - 2018-11 - Quartz)
The next big restaurant chain may not own any kitchens (Retail/Food Services - 2018-10 - TechCrunch)
New York City’s first Amazon Go cashierless store will open near the World Trade Center (Retail/Cashierless store - 2018-10 - Recode)
Amazon may open 3,000 cashierless conveniene stores by 2021 (Retail/Food - 2018-09 - Bloomberg)
Zippin is the first Amazon Go rival to open an automated checkout store (Retail - 2018-08 - FastCompany)
AI supporting buying decisions decimate the number of buyers needed (Retail/Buyers - 2018-07 - TechRepublic)
San Francisco is too expensive for restaurant wait staff to live in (Retail/Restaurants - 2018-06 - New York Times)
AI is automating food preparation (Retail/Food service - 2018-06 - TechRepublic)
50,000 Las Vegas workers are ready to go on strike over fears of robots taking their jobs (Retail/Gambling - 2018-06 - Gizmodo)
Product purchasing at Amazon done better by robots (Retail/Purchasing - 2018-06 - MIT Technology Review)
Robot is chef at a new burger joint (Retail/Food service - 2018-06 - Fast Company)
A British supermarket is using more than 1,000 robots to make on-line grocery shopping faster (Retail-Automated Warehouse/Robotics - 2018-05 - The Verge)
Ocado, a British online-only supermarket, has created a warehouse, involving a hive-grid-machine with over one thousand robots, each the size and shape of a washing machine, that lift, move, and sort groceries. The operation will process 3.5 million items or around 65,000 orders every week.
Food waste management company uses blockchain to track food waste from restaurant to the needy (Retail/Food - 2018-05 - Fast Company)
11 jobs teens are about to lose to robots (Robotics - 2018-05 - ZDNet)
Target uses AR for makeup shopping on-line and in stores (AI - Augmented Reality/Cosmetics - 2018-05 - TechRepublic)
Amazon to bring automated stores to Chicago, San Francisco as AI replaces human cashiers (AI - 2018-05 - TechRepublic)
IBM partners with jewelry industry on blockchain supply chain project (Retail/Jewellery - 2018-04 - Coindesk)
Farmer’s Fridge operates more than 100 unmanned fresh food vending units in Chicago and Milwaukee (AI/Food - 2018-04 - FoodManagement)
Farmer’s Fridge offers conveniently-accessed fresh, wholesome meals in over 100 unmanned fresh food vending units across the Chicago and Milwaukee metro regions. The units are maintained by the company, which monitors and restocks them daily, with any unsold product donated to community members in need. Selections include salads, sandwiches, bowl meals, and snacks – with everything scratch-made using seasonal ingredients from local partners whenever possible.