Amazon

This year was not the year to be inefficient. Amazon amped up its world domination, unleashing an army of robots and a fleet of trucks to ensure its shipping speed was unmatched. New apps were updated by just about every brand in effort to appeal to the mobile-savvy shopper and retailers like Macy’s scaled back brick-and-mortar locations.

If this was the year of efficiency, 2017 will be one centered on augmented intelligence systematically unrolled to not only ensure data is as precise as possible, but to also secure a corner of a market that’s slowly diminishing as the Amazon giant garners more control. Consider these steps to incorporate in upcoming logistics plans to rival the competition.

  1. Deal in Data: It’s time to trim the fat. Data should inform every step of the supply chain, shipments and inventory levels. With companies such as SAP and RevCascade leading the charge in providing solutions, answers abound to every retail dilemma. What’s more, employees well versed in new platforms and experienced in implementing strategic shift to align with new business plans will act as key assets, this is a department worth investing.
  2. Systematic Approach: Feel that it’s time for an overhaul? Introducing a mapped plan to instill change in a uniform and organized nature can’t be overemphasized. As imperative as it is to match infrastructure to strategy — and as tempting as it is to wipe the slate clean — be sure to do so methodically to avoid any missteps.
  3. Fake Is In: The rise of artificial intelligence provides unique opportunities for small businesses and big boxes alike to gain valuable insight into consumer behavior and shopper experiences from the removal of checkout lines and robotically enhanced supply chains á la Amazon. This is an area within experimentation and a sense of play will do wonders.
  4. Friction, Less: Zero-in on customer feedback to highlight areas that frustrate shoppers the most. Partner with social media and marketing teams to decipher customer feedback in order to maximize reviews to direct next steps. It is all about them after all.
  5. Inventory Up: Reduce redundancies by using physical store locations as additional warehouse spaces. Apps to track product levels and promote customer pick-up will reduce the weight on delivery staff and satisfy consumers looking for speedy service.
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