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Article | March 31, 2020
Recent coverage of the pressures on the retail supply chains during the current global health crisis has made reference to the essential roles of the back end warehouses and distribution centers that power the fulfilment of online orders. In recent days, these have come front-and-center of attention as concern has grown about the well-being of the people working in them. Ocado’s robotic warehouses are very far from the norm. Behind the scenes at the vast majority of facilities is a human workforce now in search of reassurance that their health is being taken into account.
According to KPMG’s “Living in an AI World 2020 Report,” retailers have some optimism, some skepticism and some pessimism about how artificial intelligence (AI) will impact the industry. The study explored how 751 insiders across five industries, including retail, view the future of AI in their sectors. On the downside, 64 percent of retail insiders agreed that the use of AI to help businesses is more hype than reality right now. The study also identified numerous challenges retailers believe they face in capitalizing on AI’s potential: AI readiness: Just 43 percent of retail respondents believe their employees are prepared for AI adoption. Relatedly, only 52 percent say their companies offer any type of AI training.
Reality as we know it has been interrupted. Our entire lives have been put on hold. And it’s not a great feeling. To fight the global coronavirus pandemic, we’re all stepping back from large gatherings even if it disrupts our business goals or denies us the ability to catch up with dear friends. Not only have we postponed Ecommerce Operations Summit 2020 but we are brainstorming other ways to do our part and contribute however we can. Our focus right now is on everyone whose lives have been turned upside down or even put at mortal risk by this invisible enemy. How has this impacted you? While you’re working from home, carve out a quick minute to answer this survey and share the effect COVID-19 has had on your business. Answers will be collected through this Thursday.
The coronavirus is having a severe impact on the retail sector. The only way to tackle future disruptions is by reducing the desire to shop in stores, and placing focus on creating a retail ecosystem that makes it easy for customers to receive and retrieve the products they want. That’s the view of former Amazon executive and supply chain consultant Brittain Ladd. In an online post, he says: “Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, grocery retailers in the United States were focused on remodelling their stores and improving the in-store experience for customers.” “Supposed retail experts and grocery analysts argued vociferously that the only way for grocery retailers to be able to compete against Amazon, was by providing an immersive and inviting in-store experience.”
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