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Transport & Logistics

Global Trends for Online Retail and the Increase in Supply Chain Automation

1 Apr 2016, by Informa Insights



We are delighted to have Apex Supply Chain Technologies come on board as Platinum Sponsor for our Online Retail Logistics Conference taking place at the Grace Hotel Sydney on the 28th and 29th of this month. We had the opportunity to discuss online retail, supply chain automation and Apex as a company with David Quayle the Managing Director of Australia and New Zealand. See what insights David had for us below!

What are some of the global trends we are seeing for online retail?

David: Consumer expectations are going through the roof and retailers can’t seem to move fast enough to keep up. Not easily, anyway. There’s a transformational aspect about it all. A consumers says, “I want this now, I want to buy it the way I want, I want to pay for it the way I want, and I want to pick it up or have it delivered the way I want.” It creates a tremendous challenge for the retail environment. The infrastructure needs to be rethought and in some ways re-imagined.

As a result of increased consumer expectations, we are seeing a change at the stores. Stores are no longer just functioning as pick-up points. The store is now becoming a distribution centre, and retailers are leveraging same-day delivery out of the inventory that’s in the store, especially in specialty retail and apparel.

How is advancing technology affecting the way we are buying goods and services?

David: Technology has had a tremendous effect on buying goods and services. Smart phones allow consumers to buy goods or services at any time from just about anywhere they want. The consumer is evolving into one that wants what they want, when the want it, and they want it now.

We are seeing in the US and in Europe the rapid implementation and development in automated locker systems. These lockers will enable a wide range of scenarios to make real-time retail work across multiple channels. For example, a customer may make a clothing purchase online via their smart phone on the way to work. The item of clothing is then picked by the retailer and placed into a smart locker system where it is ready for pickup, day or night. When the customer arrives, they can skip past the line, grab their purchase from the locker, and be on their way. Customer experience is improved and both sales and brand loyalty go up.

logo.png.pagespeed.ce.2LW-90TJi1We are delighted to have Apex as Platinum sponsor for the Online Retail Logistics event at the end of April. Can you give us some more insight into what attendees can expect to learn about Apex at the event?

David: At the event, Apex will be introducing AnyWhere self-service product-delivery solutions for today’s on-the-go consumer. Apex AnyWhere systems allow retailers to open new channels for their customers to make and pick up a purchase. We are removing the limits of time and location so that consumers can buy and pick up their merchandise whenever, wherever and however they want. It allows retailers to provide a new and better customer experience that is perfectly aligned with the expectations of today’s on-the-go consumer.

We are removing the limits of time and location so that consumers can buy and pick up their merchandise whenever, wherever and however they want.

Apex AnyWhere solutions are purpose-built to accommodate virtually anything that can be sold—from items as small as a cup of coffee to lumber, drywall and cement bags. They are ideal for food and beverage, hardware home centers, fashion, electronics, high tech, sporting goods, and auto parts. They also support self-service fashion, tool and equipment rental, and are available for both indoor and outdoor use.

The Apex Trajectory Cloud is the smarts behind the device, and serves as a single, secure, unified transaction platform. The Trajectory Cloud manages secure transactions, providing real-time data on inventory levels at every position in the supply chain. It integrates easily with retailers’ existing systems to provide rich analytics and insights into buying behaviors, trends and loyalty preferences.

The central theme of the conference for 2016 is – ‘Creating efficient supply chains to seamlessly serve your customer’. In your opinion, how can companies make sure their supply chains are as efficient as possible?

David: One of the major ways companies can make their supply chains more efficient is through demand planning. Retailers can get their consumers something in every way, shape or form anytime, anywhere, but if you don’t understand the demand, you won’t be able to make that happen. Instead, you’re going to see a lot of stock outs. The solution is data, getting better at using data to understand and predict the future. The industry, at least in the US and Europe, is not quite where it needs to be yet, but we’re beginning to close the gap and the same can be said for Australia.

One of the major ways companies can make their supply chains more efficient is through demand planning.

Why should we be excited about supply chain automation?

David: Supply chain automation saves money, simply put. Making changes in your supply chain can have an incredible impact on your bottom-line. Apex is working with retailers to lower the replacements costs for lost and misplaced tablets, headsets, smart phones and scanners, as well as time wasted searching for them when they turn up missing. With stronger control and better information, associates can get to work quickly and supervisors are freed from searching for lost equipment and working around a broken system. Many retailers find that this saves as much as 30 minutes per associate per shift. Multiple that by 10-20 associates on 2-3 shifts and the money savings and efficiency gains can have a significant impact on any retailer.

What are some of things you are looking forward to about attending the conference?

David: This will be the first retail event/conference that Apex will exhibit at in Australia and it will be interesting to see how the market reacts to this evolving click and collect technology. The online retail industry in We have had significant interest in our AnyWhere solutions in the US and Europe and are working on some great opportunities with large retailers. We know the market is there — Australia had an estimated worth of $22.1 billion last year, a 7% increase on the year before — and we look forward to building the Apex brand, generating awareness, and hopefully carrying our success overseas to the Australian market.

We look forward to hearing more from David and from Apex at the Online Retail Logistics Conference in Sydney at the end of April. To learn more click the banner below!


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