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Editorial: Why automation is key to driving future online growth


For a growing retailer understanding the right time to add automation to your warehouse is a tricky business. Go too early and the investment won’t be justified. Go too late and you will already be risking bottlenecks, errors and upsetting customers. The topic is the subject of an upcoming ebook we are currently compiling but is also the subject of new research this week from Conveyor Networks.
It suggests that 83% of retailers believe that automation will drive future online retail growth and 49% saying it will help them handle orders quicker and more efficiently. With customers more demanding than ever – wanting faster delivery services and premium offerings – then automation allows growing retailers to better compete.

Of course the biggest competitor of them is Amazon. Interestingly the giant has announced the expansion of its Amazon Key service across the US this week. The service allows remote access to homes, powered by a video link and remote lock and unlock services. What is missing from the announcement however is the expansion of the company’s in-home delivery service – which was after all one of the prime drivers for the Amazon Key launch last November. Instead that service remains limited to the 37 initial states it launched in. Quite why the company hasn’t announced expansion of the service is unclear.

Hoping to get deliveries more accurately to customers’ homes is PostTag. The technology business has poached Yodel’s former commercial development director to be its own commercial director. Through its technology it claims it can better get drivers to a front door of a customers’ home – meaning quicker, more accurate deliveries.

Yodel meanwhile has announced a partnership with Walking with the Wounded – a charity that helps get injured servicemen and women back into work and everyday life after their careers. The company has announced not only financial support for the charity but also CV and interview help and will be looking to help identify relevant vacancies within its business too.

And finally this week’s opinion piece, from Red Stag Fulfillment, looks at the main order fulfilment challenges of modern ecommerce and why IT can get in the way.

Image credit: Fotolia

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