Automation in retail: An executive overview for getting ready

Automation will reshape retail business models and the broader value chain, creating organizations with fewer layers and a better trained and trusted workforce empowered by real-time data and analytics. The winners in the sector will be those who understand these implications and act quickly to address them.
Retail is under pressure. Margins are stressed from all sides: higher costs to manage e-commerce supply chains, growing demands from suppliers to pass on raw-material cost inflation, higher investments to match new competition, and steadily rising labor costs. At the same time, the customer’s expectations continue to surge as digital natives and disruptors alike raise the bar for personalized service—on the back of what, at times, is an advantaged cost structure. As retailers struggle to adapt, and even to survive, they increasingly pursue automation to address margin strain and more demanding customer expectations. Automation, however, is a new capability for all but digital natives, and the sophistication in approach varies accordingly. Read more…