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Autonomous vehicles will completely change how we shop Posted on Dec 04 - 2018

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Since 2015, there have been at least 57 major retail bankruptcies. And after more than 5,000 store closures in 2017, we are on track to surpass that number in 2018. A combination of increased online shopping, declining foot traffic in malls, and competition from digital native brands has made retail a more challenging industry. Today’s retailers will have to adapt quickly to succeed in a rapidly changing market dominated by e-commerce.

Brick and mortar stores are being pummeled by e-commerce retailers with drastically lower overheads. Companies like Warby Parker and Casper have successfully connected the dots between the online and physical retail experience. But for the next pioneers of commerce, there is something even more disruptive happening around the corner: autonomous delivery.

Auto manufacturers, such as Toyota, have already partnered with several companies, including Amazon, to create self-driving package and food delivery vehicles. With autonomous vehicles in their infancy, it can be difficult for any industry to imagine and, more importantly, implement innovative use cases. But the retailer of the future has to explore the opportunities autonomous vehicles offer — from deliveries to roving showrooms to other capabilities not yet imagined.

Making “lean” more lean

For retailers launching a new product or looking to break into a new market, autonomous vehicles with delivery capabilities can reduce the cost of being in a physical retail store, a mall kiosk or a pop-up shop. Additionally, autonomous vehicles can provide accurate insights into where a product is gaining traction and where it is being sold. The vehicle can then efficiently move between low and high trafficked areas. From the perspective of the lean startup methodology, autonomous vehicles applied to retail could reduce production costs and overhead and could minimize the risk of product failure before mass distribution.

Showrooming

Most folks shop with their smartphone in hand, comparing prices between physical and online stores. Nearly 71 percent of consumers are shopping online to find a better price. This shows that while consumers do want to look, feel, and touch the items they buy, they are very much price conscious. View More

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