Covid-19 has changed everything and it is fair to say that the tech industry has stepped up to the plate by and large when it comes to retail. On the other hand, a lot of the solutions described in this report have been around for some time - and now represent old wine in new bottles. In the publisher's view, the only real novelty and real innovation remain Amazon Go and its just walk out technology. That said, now many of the solutions are appearing in a new light due to changed circumstances brought upon by the outbreak of Covid-19. Whereas, for example, a self check out a solution with computer vision capabilities to add up the prices in real-time was mainly about eliminating costs, associated with manual check out staff and improving flow throughput, it is now all about hygiene issues and avoiding human contact, touchpoints and eliminating queues. In other words, the publisher has seen a big pivot not so much in the solutions themselves, but in the marketing around their use cases and capabilities.
Nevertheless, every decade new revolutionary retail concepts emerge (the Apple store turned electronics retailing upside down) and the publisher thinks Peloton is one of these players. Like Apple, Peloton’s strategy is helped by selling its own product, the retailer has managed to combine social media, gaming and fitness with a subscription model and a significant draw for shoppers to visit their locations.
Obviously, tracking what Peloton does or how a running shoe retailer overcomes the crisis will have limited usefulness for other sectors at first sight, but there are elements that can be incorporated into other business models - especially around social media communication, online communities, engagement and the like.
Other currently successful retail case examples heavily involve online in some shape or form, be it the various (unmanned) click & collect stations, automated stores, lockers and vending machines or retailers using Zoom type offerings to sell to shoppers at home. The zero inventory stores are an inversion of this concept and should work well with clothes (especially when changing room use is heavily restricted).
Even now there are techniques how retailers can drive footfall to their stores, many of them involving tech, but not all of them. Much of the secret lies in retailers utilising their store locations in a much better way to regain authenticity and localize their stores. And the publisher doesn't mean building MFCs adjacent to their stores (even though that might be a good solution for some retailers).
In any case, coupled with the shift to online, the lockdown and the subsequent easing of it have revealed that a lot of physical retail is in a precarious state. So what will happen next? The researchers don’t believe it’s contentious to predict that the publisher is looking at a global recession to come. The likely recession impact will see many businesses going to the wall and unemployment rising fast, so the publisher expects a channel shift to the discounters (Aldi and Lidl will win again). There will be huge distress on the high street, with retail bankruptcies forcing change on the property sector and rents and rate regimes (spreading upstream to pension funds as property investors and PE and so on). For all surviving retailers, a huge speeding up of digitalisation trends is ongoing.
The publisher believes that new tech-enabled the generation of stores will replace the old model battered by online and Covid-19. Finally, tech alone will not get retailers through the crisis, but it will play a crucial part in finding a solution or many partial solutions that combined enable something akin to a return to pre-Covid normality.
1. Executive summary
2. A new set of circumstances, Coronavirus and the depression to come
- Covid-19 expectations, The new normal - between the first and second wave
- Retail change, Online boom, category spend changes, recession impact to come
- Retail change, Coronavirus - the online boom, data
- Retail change, Outlook - what will happen next? Recession, cycling, gardening
- New lease agreements, Turnover rents the new normal? How to account for online sales
3. Tech solutions
- Making physical retail Corona safe
4. The return of price over value, as the recession starts to bite
- How to manage price focus, Price integrity - the case for ESLs
- ESL - from 1st generation to new capabilities
5. Towards a cashless future? Coronavirus speeds up some trends
- Going cash-free, Cash is seen as contagious - without evidence
- The cash won’t disappear any time soon
- Data on contactless preferences, …rising across the board during the pandemic
6. Revolutionary checkouts, the store of the future
- Ahold’s AH TO GO, tapping the ESL…… and now fast forward to an Amazon GO style experience
- Ahold’s Nano store, copying Amazon GO
- Check out solutions, a wide range of solutions, Apple stores, Decathlon, Amazon
- Amazon Whole Foods payment trial using hands as ID, avoiding facial recognition
- Amazon Go: Store Visit - pictures
- Amazon Go: Amazon’s Most Ambitious Research Project, Footfall issues in Chicago pre-Covid-19
- Amazon Go: from computer vision to sensor fusion, Scaling down initially to scale back up later
- Amazon Go: all physical Amazon stores at early stage still, $3m on pilot store
- Amazon Go: immense costs for a magical shopper experience, Up to 3,000 Amazon Go outlets?
- Amazon Go: the economics of a Go store, basket size, frequency, sales density, London outlets
- Amazon Go: the cost of the hardware, range limitations, packaging, everything is wrapped in plastic
- Amazon is planning to open cashierless supermarkets in 2020, losses around $50m
- Amazon opens Go Grocery in Seattle, scaling up
- Amazon launches business selling automated checkout to retailers, … using the marketplace/FBA playbook
- Amazon’s cashier-less checkout technology coming to Newark Airport, a pre-Covid-19 win
7. The essential footfall question after the lost summer of 2020
- Footfall as be all and end all, Catastrophic change, data
- Footfall in the UK, London hardest hit
- The rise of the virtual queue, “keep them out”
- Queue management, Case examples, Aldi, Time Out Markets
- Booking appointments - “get them in”, Watches of Switzerland Group ‘By Personal Appointment’ service
- Booking appointments - “get them in”, Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports, Snow & Rock
- Wiebelhaus working like a Start-up, Exploiting the running shoes opportunity
- Wiebelhaus working like a Start-up, Appointments and masks for free
8. How to drive footfall: Case examples, Peloton
- Peloton, "find a need and fill it” - footfall magnet par excellence
- Rewriting the playbook for how to use retail space to win
- Peloton, The showroom strategy
- Challenge: staying exclusive versus generating brand ambassadors
9. How to drive Footfall: Case examples - walking tours, Team up and sponsor greeters and social tourism
- How to drive footfall, the tech solution, Payback GO - loyalty solution across retailers, Push and check-in coupons
10. Zoom retailing & Zero Inventory stores, go fishing where the fish are
- Flagship store experience online, Dior, John Lewis & Partners, Dunelm
- Zoom Retailing, Bambuser and H&M, Hero
- Canada Goose - zero inventory store, An update on Bonobos and Nordstrom
11. Lockers, click and collect, unmanned stores, one of the biggest winners from Coronavirus
- Lockers, click and collect, the boom in click & collect, Kesko, Cleveron
- Next-generation vending machines, Case examples: Farmer’s Fridge, Chowbotics
- Unmanned stores, seeing a boost from Covid-19, Lifvs, Neste
12. Robots, the rise of the machines
- Future use cases: security, sanitation, delivery, OSA checks
- Delivery robots, Case examples: FedEx, Starship
- Cleaning/disinfecting robots, Case examples: Frasers Property, Amazon
13. Micro fulfilment centres, the solution to unproductive space
- Micro Fulfilment, New tech companies muscling in
- Integrating robotics and AI, avoiding the drawbacks of the Ocado solution
14. Takeoff Technologies, an early market leader
- Takeoff - announcing Version 2.0, Albertsons, Ahold Delhaize, Wakefern, Sedano’s, Woolworths
- Takeoff - being hyperlocal, a profitable e-commerce solution?
- The partnership with Knapp
15. Alphabot/Alert, the Walmart solution
- Alert Innovation, An order of 25 products is completed within 6 minutes
- How the tech fits into the Walmart business
16. Amazon-Dematic partnership validates MFC model
17. Recommendations & Outlook
- Partnerships and long term projects, time to be bold?
- Ahold Delhaize
- Canada Goose
- Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports
- Farmer’s Fridge
- Frasers Property
- John Lewis
Thought provoking analysis combined with actionable recommendations based on best practice, real-life case examples provide clients with key deliverables that are heavily focused on solutions offering strategic insight, innovation and impact assessments of major trends from within the sector and beyond.
Based on the publisher's deep understanding of the EU’s retail markets, long established professional expertise and experience in the sector the solutions are always pragmatic, comprehensive, creative, reliable and implementable.
The publisher's core offer comprises a dedicated report service, on site client presentations as well as ethnographic consumer research delivered in video format and a dedicated store pictures library for benchmarking purposes.