Technology and Automation Lead Changes in Retail Industry Post-COVID
With the COVID-19 Pandemic, many companies moved online. Vidir and the broader world are seeing a lot of changes in the retail industry. The demand for automation and new technology is forcing retail outlets to change how they do business.
Mario Fontes, Director of Sales and Marketing for Vidir Solutions, “a leading manufacturer and worldwide supplier of vertical motorized storage carousels and display systems,” has seen many industry changes. First, he saw the barcode’s introduction and how retailers had to adjust or be left behind. Now, he sees another shift.
“We’ve seen some dramatic shifts, almost seismic,” Fontes said. He elaborated there were many changes before COVID, but it exacerbated and accelerated the need for change.
Those in the retail industry need to adjust to the changes to omnichannel sales and marketing departments. On the backend, in warehouses, they had to adjust how to support fulfillment and inventory management. Enter automation and technology.
Kel Guerin, Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer for READY Robotics, has also noticed the need for automation and technology. READY Robotics ”builds software that fundamentally makes it easier to deploy robotic automation. A lot of that automation is in the manufacturing space.” They are soon launching automation in the retail space.
“This is a trend that has been going on for a while, the need to adopt automation,” Guerin said. He noticed that the pandemic pushed the need for automation to the front-end of the retail business. It solves the problem of the need for high dependency on human labor. Currently, they are trying to install these systems as fast as possible to meet the demand.
But, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a need for human labor as automation increases.
“The industry has realized the value of the individual in the store is not in stocking shelves or moving products through the store,” Fontes said. “The value is in what they do to serve the customer.”