Release date: January 10, 2023
This episode is brought to you by Retail Insight.
In this episode of Telaid Tech Connect, host Beth Bergmann sits down with store and fulfillment automation leader in retail and grocery, Corrie Martin, to discuss the challenges retailers and grocers face when it comes to automation projects. They explore common challenges and important considerations when going through the automation planning and implementation process.
IN THIS EPISODE:
- [1:30] What are the key processes retailers seek to automate and why?
- [2:12] What are the key steps or phases when developing an automation strategy and advancing to rollout?
- [4:45] Who are some of the external stakeholders that you need to have aligned with your automation vision and goals?
- [7:32] What are some common pitfalls that retailers are facing as they approach automation projects?
- [9:53] What should the automation team look like?
- [11:40] How do you drive customer adoption?
- [14:02] What will automation look like in five years?
- Key areas for automation in grocery stores include the storefront, back-of-the-store and distribution and deployment centers. Anywhere that you want to see more throughput, reduced labor and increased profitability is a candidate.
- Think of an end-to-end strategy and make sure you have your end goal in mind. Consider what you intend to accomplish through automation. Who are the key players you need to sync up with internally or externally? It’s important to think beyond the obvious; consider issues like compliance, legal and the customer experience.
- Look for vendors who can scale and who can help drive the price down over the long term. You want a vendor who is willing to work with others.
- One of the most common pitfalls is the financial expectations for these kinds of projects. Typically, when investing in hardware assets in a retail setting, retailers want an ROI of two or three years. It’s important to set realistic expectations for large-scale automation projects. ROI can take longer than expected. Another common pitfall is failure to think through issues like compliance, regulatory and legal, and fire safety.
- The automation team needs to include engineers, but it’s also important to have a strong project management organization supporting you. Product teams are also important.
- Some customers feel like automation technologies are being shoved down their throats, but the more exposure they get, the more easily they will adopt it. It’s important to communicate the value and give them opportunities to explore the technologies firsthand. Over time, this drives adoption.
- I think there’s going to be growing use of AI and machine learning to provide intelligence that will drive customer and associate behavior. Personalized automation is also going to be a growing trend over the next few years.
BIO: Corrie Martin is the Sales Director for strategic North American partnerships at Retail Insight. A go-to-market executive with expertise in Automation and Robotics, Store and eCommerce Operations, Data Analytics, and Loss Prevention. Corrie spent six years at Walmart helping them re-invent their store operations and customer experience by launching new Online Grocery Pickup and Delivery fulfillment services.
Her passion for cutting-edge technology and innovation has propelled her into the product and technology ecosystem space even further, where today she inspires executives in retail, grocery, and supply chain to think differently about how they can leverage their own data to drive profitability and increase product sell-through with an on-shelf availability algorithm.