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In last week’s post, we covered the reveal of Amazon Go.

This week, we’ll cover the steps Amazon’s competitors have taken to stay competitive. We will also be going into why with just a teaser video, Amazon may have already won the war for the future of retail.

Before we begin, we need to do a recap about what we know so far.

What the Reveal Video Tells Us

Amazon Go will work like this:

  • Amazon Go aims to give customers a ‘grab and go’ feeling similar to how its digital shop operates.
  • You enter the store by waving your smart phone across a scanner.
  • You will need an Amazon account (likely Amazon Prime) to use the store.
  • If a customer changes their mind about an item, he/she just puts it back.
  • The store will be using AI and facial recognition technology similar to that found in a self-driving car.
  • Seattle will be the first test city which makes sense given the city is also home to Amazon’s head office.

The video is meant to cement the idea of a friction-less retail experience. Simply go in, get what you want, then leave. The video makes the idea believable, influences buyer expectation, and affects the future of the industry.

Let’s look at the strategies Amazon’s competitor’s have been testing to expand their market share.

Competitor Response

Big retail and food companies are using a number of different strategies to stay competitive. Companies such as RetailNext, Euclid, Nomi and others are part of a trend that provides brick-and-mortar stores with analytics that looks similar to website traffic reports. The aggregate data is used to project purchasing trends, decide how to build a layout, and produce more detailed reports for shareholders.

Food heavyweights such as Tyson Foods Inc., Campbell Soup Co. and Hershey are taking a page from UberEATS with their strategy. They are trying to get into the home delivery and meal kit market as Wall Street Journal correspondent Kelsey Gee explains. They are working with online couriers to challenge companies like Blue Apron and HelloFresh that have carved out a $1.5billion market delivering parcels of fresh ingredients.

Wal-Mart is also making an aggressive push into online groceries. Wal-Mart Pickup and Fuel lets customers order their items online and pick them up when they are ready.

Future of Retail—Has Amazon Already Won?

While the strategies used by Amazon’s competitors are innovative, they haven’t had the same media buzz. With just a video, Amazon has created an expectation amongst consumers. They will expect greater convenience in the way the video promised. Companies using alternative models will need to work harder to convince their consumers that their way is superior.

However, being king of retail may not be Amazon’s true goal. Amazon Go is more likely to be a proof-of-concept and a retail model it can sell to other businesses as this video speculates.

Conclusion

The reveal of Amazon Go is recent, but it’s already beginning to disrupt the retail industry. Time will tell which new retail method becomes the standard, but one thing is certain—retail will be undergoing a drastic evolution very soon.

That’s it for us this week! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news.

morai-logistics-blog-supermarket-amazon-go

A couple of weeks ago, Amazon.com Inc. announced it will be opening a grocery store. This is an unexpected move for the e-commerce giant.

Amazon Go is the name of the name program. The reveal video promises “no lines, no checkouts, no registers”. It’s about to enter the pilot phase, being limited to a single store. The only customers to test it out will be employees.

So why the hype?

More Than Meets the Eye

It might seem strange that the announcement of physical store is having such an effect on news outlets. After all, e-commerce sales continue to grow each year. The sale of groceries isn’t new for the company as its AmazonFresh program made its debut back in 2007. This being Amazon however, means the project is more nuanced then it first appear.

A 2014 patent filed by Amazon gives more insight into how the store could work. Basically it involves a whole lot of cameras, sensors and tracking. Natt Garun, from the Verge, comments:

The patent describes a system where cameras could capture you as you walk into the store, then identify who you are based on an ID card that’s associated with your Amazon client

There are cameras lined within the store as well. They’d determine if multiples of the same items are taken. So if you took several bags of chips to get to one in the back and you put the rest back, then the cameras would recognize the action and keep you from being charged.

Sensors in the shelves are another way for the store to know what you have taken. They will check to see if the weight has changed from its original state.

Why Invest in a Grocery Store?

There are some unique ways Amazon Go stands to benefit the company.

Amazon Go, even if it were expanded far and wide, would generate a shadow of the sales of the parent company. E-commerce will have the advantage over physical stores because it isn’t limited by the geography of its customers.

What Amazon Go represents for the company, is valuable information on its customer’s buying habits. Customers would be enticed by the promise of a hassle-free grocery experience, and the cameras in the store would collect information about them. Nat Garun continues:

The patent says this is used to identify the shopper’s hand to see whether they actually pick up anything off a shelf, but combine that with the fact that Amazon knows what you’re buying and who you are down to your skin colour and this is pretty next-level market data

Information gathered this way could be used to strengthen its other programs, AmazonFresh in particular. The company would be able to see what works to move a product and what doesn’t. Having physical stores would also allow Amazon to broaden its influence in the retail market.

Conclusion

Time will tell how much of a disruption Amazon Go will be on the industry. The promise of “no lines, no checkouts, no registers” sounds appealing but customers may not like being always watched.

The store will also be a model for other industries to consider. In the same way the reveal of Amazon Prime Air made waves in 2013, the same will be true for Amazon Go.

That’s it for us this week! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news.

Cargo theft isn’t anything new. From the days of bandits attacking caravans to pirates on the sea, if there is money to be made from stealing cargo and fencing it then attempts will be made to steal it. The real change is in the sophistication and planning that thieves utilize in their planning.

Globalization has also made the scope of the problem much larger. The ripples felt in one part of the world from stolen cargo can affect consumers and businesses on another side of the world. That’s to say nothing of the highly organized, highly structured, gangs, cartels, and black markets which fence the items taken from stolen cargo whose networks can stretch time zones.

This month, we’d like to focus our ebook on looking at the current state of cargo thefts and ways we can minimize these occurrences.

Looking at the Impact of Cargo Theft and Possible Solutions

Morai-Logistics-eBook-Cargo-Theft

That’s it for us this week! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news.

If 2015 could be summarized in a word, that word would be “uberification” as the on-demand delivery model really took off. Many industries have been affected by uberification, with several entrepreneurial ventures popping up this last year with their pitch being “Uber, but for X”. Given that uberification is focused strictly on the distribution and not necessarily production of goods, this means that this latest trend will have the greatest impact on the last-mile end of the supply chain.

To kick off our first ebook of the year, let us look at a bit of the history of this trend and why it has evolved so suddenly!

eBook – Uberification and Its Impact on Logistics

Click the Cover Image below to access our ebook!

morai-logistics-blog-uberification

That’s it for us this week! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news!

Morai-Logistics-blog-santa-tracker

Every year on this day, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) “tracks” and broadcasts Santa Claus’ location as he leaves his home in the North Pole and delivers presents too all the children of the world.

This article on CNET goes into colorful detail about the origins of the now 65 year old Christmas-themed program:

“One morning that December, U.S. Air Force Col. Harry Shoup, the director of operations at CONAD, the Continental Air Defense Command–NORAD’s predecessor–got a phone call at his Colorado Springs, Colorado, office. This was no laughing matter. The call had come in on one of the top secret lines inside CONAD that only rang in the case of a crisis.

Grabbing the phone, Shoup must have expected the worst. Instead, a tiny voice asked, “Is this Santa Claus?”

“Dad’s pretty annoyed,” said Terri Van Keuren, Shoup’s daughter, recalling the legend of that day in 1955. “He barks into the phone,” demanding to know who’s calling.

“The little voice is now crying,” Van Keuren continued. “‘Is this one of Santa’s elves, then?'”

What had happened is that a local paper had run an ad with a large picture of Santa Claus that urged kids to call the displayed number to talk “personally any time day or night”.
However, the number listed on the ad was wrong by a digit. Rather than talking to jolly St. Nick, children were calling into a very special phone line that was only supposed to ring if the Cold War heated up and Russia attacked.

Thanks to the wrong digit in the ad, many hopeful kids called in excited to be and eagerly anticipating their chance to tell Santa want they want personally. Realizing what had happened and not wanting to crush the expectations of so many children, those on the other end of the line decided to pretend to be Santa and his helpers. From there a tradition was born.

Now every December 24th, children can call NORAD to find out where in the world Santa is located.

Tracking Santa Today

“Tracking Santa” is more difficult and resource intensive than many would imagine. Here’s the short list of some of the stats behind the scene:

Although the program is led by NORAD, it comes to no cost to tax payers. Instead, it is paid for by its corporate partners and through the hard work of the people working on helping to track Santa.
It is through their efforts that Christmas can remain special a little longer for thousands of children around the world.

That’s it for us this week! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news!