Robotics, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and machine learning are going to change the future of grocery retail, more than half of senior executives believe. In fact, many say that it is already happening.
The assertion is based on interviews with 750 grocery directors in the USA, UK, Germany and France, by Blue Yonder, which supplies predictive applications of retail.
Some 48 per cent of retail director said decision making was being slowed down by too many manual decisions. And 30 per cent identified supply chain as slowing down their decision making, leaving them unable to keep pace with their customers. 33 per cent said that this was due to legacy supply chain infrastructure.
Almost half, 46 per cent, said replenishment is still a manual process though there is clearly a strong move towards automated replenishment in all four countries surveyed.
In the UK 46 per cent of directors said they were using fully automated replenishment systems – ahead of France (45 per cent), Germany (33 per cent) and the USA (30 per cent).
Technology is enabling consumers to become more demanding. In the age of the internet, one online store is only a click away from the last one – the buyer doesn’t even have to walk down the road.
And this survey shows that there is a strong appetite among grocery directors to embrace technological developments to keep pace with these increasingly fickle consumers.
As more retailers embrace these technologies, those who cling to manual systems and gut feeling risk being left behind.