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Insight into retail: Priorities for 2024

Insight into retail: Priorities for 2024
Insight into retail: Priorities for 2024

Retailers are finding ways to adapt to the ever-demanding customer. In a recent post, Walmart GoLocal vice-president Rina Hurst highlighted some important points retailers should focus on in 2024. 

Hurst says: “Retailers are facing increased and changing customer expectations, the rapid growth of e-commerce, and emerging technologies like AI. And they’re thinking about how these factors influence how they serve their customers end-to-end.” 

Locate2u recently reported a trend where retailers are going back to ‘just in time’ inventory. 

Hurst says she is speaking to leading retailers and finds several common points that arise when it comes to retail. 

Stores and fulfillment hubs in retail 

Hurts believes Walmart often discusses its stores as a competitive advantage, with over half of its online orders being fulfilled from local stores.

“More and more, our retail clients are focused on how they can fulfill orders from local stores, creating a true omnichannel experience for the consumer. By incorporating same-day delivery and ship-from-store into their operations, retailers can optimize inventory, improve cost efficiency, and improve delivery speed, ultimately leading to a better customer experience.” 

We see DoorDash taking on the customer experience in a big way. The company recently partnered with drone specialists Wing to bring items to customers fast. Drones are changing the retail game. 

Artificial intelligence 

The world of shopping, parcel delivery, and warehouse operations has changed tremendously due to artificial intelligence (AI). 

Hurst says AI, automation, and emerging technologies like drones are at the top of retailers’ minds and can serve customers faster and more accurately. “Retailers use AI and predictive analytics in areas like inventory planning and management, routing, and batching to better place inventory throughout our network and optimize delivery routes. Automation is another powerful tool.”

Customer expectations

Looking around, we see that customers want items fast. This is evident in the number of companies using automation to handle repetitive tasks, delivery drones, and even autonomous mobile robots to deliver food to your door – on the same day. 

“While same-day delivery was initially seen as a luxury service, it’s now considered table stakes, and many customers see the value of same-day delivery, even for lower-cost items. Retailers are also being strategic about the customer delivery promise based on their business and customer expectations,” says Hurst. 

Customer expectation is vital to a retail store’s survival. If a customer is not satisfied, they will simply shop somewhere else. 

Here’s a scenario: Imagine a customer forgetting an important milestone and needing the order delivered on the same day. He finds a perfect gift, but they don’t offer same-day delivery. The store missed out on valuable income, and the customers decided to shop at a different store that delivered the same day. 

“Same-day delivery can drive real results for your business—one of our clients saw a significant increase in incremental shoppers after introducing same-day delivery,” says Hurst. 

ALSO READ: Pudu Robotics spearheads AI era with robots for retail and restaurants

Photo Credit: Canva

About the author

Sharl is a qualified journalist. He has over 10 years’ experience in the media industry, including positions as an editor of a magazine and Business Editor of a daily newspaper. Sharl also has experience in logistics specifically operations, where he worked with global food aid organisations distributing food into Africa. Sharl enjoys writing business stories and human interest pieces.

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