Shoptalk 2019, Day 3 Innovator Insights: Last-Mile Delivery, Beyond Search and Discovery and Solving Online Returns
The Coresight Research is in Las Vegas this week, attending and participating in the Shoptalk 2019 conference, March 3-6. These are just a few of the innovative technologies we saw at the show:
- Last-mile delivery solutions connect drivers with retailers in more efficient ways, enabling better logistical operations and faster delivery.
- Beyond search and discovery, computer vision technology can help retailers make better use of their physical store locations in ways that include customer tracking and inventory management.
- New solutions to manage returns could ease a long-time pain point for online.
Shoptalk 2019 is underway, with 8,400 people in attendance. We feature a few standout innovative technologies we saw on day 3.
Last-mile solution systems allow retailers to speed up delivery, utilize store locations more effectively and organize drivers. More explicitly than most retail conferences, Shoptalk highlights the growing importance of e-commerce, while embracing emerging and established technology companies reshaping the retail industry. E-commerce retailers and platforms are increasingly offering one- to two-day delivery, and often free returns. At this year’s conference, it is no wonder we see numerous startups focus on improving last-mile delivery systems to handle this trend.
- Shipsi uses existing infrastructure and last-mile delivery systems to give retailers easy “instant delivery” options on their e-commerce checkout pages without having to worry about logistics.
- Roadie, a delivery network service, takes advantage of underutilized passenger vehicle capacity to connect deliverable goods to drivers who are already on the way to the destination.
- io seeks to streamline and connect the fragmented freighting industry by giving truck drivers and companies a mobile and online application.
Computer vision innovation has paved the way for effective visual search technology and better product discovery tools online. However, similar forms of software and hardware can turn stores into more engaging and targeted environments for potential customers.
- VisuWall uses cameras to identify and analyze people walking by store fronts to turn vacant or underutilized stores into targeted advertising channels.
- DeepMagic uses computer vision technology to power its unmanned stores.
- Bossa Nova, which has been testing its product at Walmart, gives retailers robots that can use computer vision to automatically check and track inventory levels within stores.
Returns is one of the key reasons online retailing tends to make lower profits than brick-and-mortar retailing. To make matters more difficult, as the growth of e-commerce continues to accelerate, so does the rate of online retail returns. When buying online – especially fashion apparel – people frequently buy two or three different sizes of the same model, just to try them on, find the right fit and return the others.
The Coresight team met with David Sobie, CEO of Happy Returns, a startup that simplifies the process of returning products purchased online at retail stores. The company provides “Return Bars,” or physical locations for shoppers to return in person for an immediate refund. The company has a network of over 300 locations nationwide, and staffed by Returnista (return specialists). The company announced a new product at Shoptalk, a self-service return kiosk for omnichannel retailers. Retailers can use this free-standing kiosk in-store to speed the customer experience while also saving employees time processing returns. The retailers can use Happy Returns’ reverse logistics software to handle moving returns from the point of drop-off back to the retailer in the most cost-efficient manner.