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Tech partnership to bring AI-enabled robotic solutions to retail grocery

Tech partnership to bring AI-enabled robotic solutions to retail grocery

Berkshire Grey Inc, a leader in AI-enabled robotic solutions and Swisslog, leading provider of future-ready, data-driven robotics solutions, today announced a partnership to provide robotic solutions to help grocery / e-grocery, e-commerce and retail customers meet the demands of today’s connected consumers while managing widespread labor shortages.

The partnership will initially focus on the American market.

Together, Swisslog and Berkshire Grey are providing, innovative, AI-enabled robotics solutions to global enterprises seeking to master the challenge of real time order fulfillment through automation.

With this announcement, Swisslog will become part of Berkshire Grey’s Partner Alliance program as a strategic Systems Integration Partner that provides customers with scalable robotic solutions developed to improve fulfillment throughput while driving down operational costs.

Swisslog has leading solutions in multiple flexible, scalable and modular automation technologies for major retail, e-grocery, e-commerce and consumer goods customers, with more than 2,000 integrated installations around the globe including Walmart, Target, H-E-B and Ahold Delhaize. The company offers a range of data-driven, solutions to fit fulfillment strategies.

As a recognized and trusted leader in advanced robotic fulfillment solutions, Berkshire Grey’s solutions combine artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics to intelligently automate the most challenging warehouse operations including e-commerce fulfillment, retail replenishment, reverse logistics and package handling logistics.

“Swisslog is excited to partner with Berkshire Grey, one of the most forward-thinking companies in AI-enabled robotic automation. It is a continuation of our commitment to provide our customers with the innovative technology that best meets their needs and accomplishes their objectives,” said Markus Schmidt, President of Swisslog Americas.

“We view this as a first step in a fruitful relationship with Berkshire Grey. Together, we will continue to shape the future of data-driven, robotic solutions by providing the next generation of warehouse automation and creating reliable and unparalleled results for our distribution, e-grocery and e-commerce customers.”

“Both Berkshire Grey and Swisslog have broad portfolios of complementary solutions and the same goal: providing automation that helps customers meet ongoing consumer demand for anything, anytime, anywhere order fulfillment,” said Steve Johnson, President and COO at Berkshire Grey.

“We’re focused on leveraging Swisslog’s experience working closely with customers to identify and implement automation technologies that meet business objectives alongside our advanced robotics solutions for joint customers – ultimately helping companies use automation to streamline their operations and maximize productivity.”

Berkshire Grey’s automated solutions are modular, flexible, and available via traditional and Robotics-as-a-Service (RaaS) implementation models, allowing customers to accelerate adoption of game-changing automation technology without upfront capital expenditures.

Both companies will be exhibiting at MODEX 2022 (March 28-31) at World Congress Center in Atlanta. Visit Berkshire Grey at Booth # B4207. Visit Swisslog at Booth #B7661.

To learn more about Berkshire Grey, please visit BerkshireGrey.com and follow Berkshire Grey on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.

To learn more about Swisslog, please visit swisslog.com and follow Swisslog on LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.

About Berkshire Grey

Berkshire Grey (Nasdaq: BGRY) helps customers radically change the essential way they do business by delivering game-changing technology that combines AI and robotics to automate fulfillment, supply chain, and logistics operations. Berkshire Grey solutions are a fundamental engine of change that transform pick, pack, move, store, organize, and sort operations to deliver competitive advantage for enterprises serving today’s connected consumers. Berkshire Grey customers include Global 100 retailers and logistics service providers. More information is available at www.berkshiregrey.com.

About Swisslog

Swisslog delivers data-driven & robotic solutions for your logistics automation alongside reliable, modular service concepts. Collaborating with forward-thinking companies, we are committed to setting new standards in warehouse automation to provide future-proof products and solutions. As part of the KUKA Group, our customers trust the competence of our passionate employees – more than 14,000 people working across the globe. www.swisslog.com, www.kuka.com

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Local CEO, U.K. Researcher Talk Next-Gen Retail Tech

Local CEO, U.K. Researcher Talk Next-Gen Retail Tech

Self-checkouts in grocery stores have become the norm in the past decade, but what’s next in retail technology, and when will retailers abandon their cashiers altogether?

Staley Technologies of Little Rock is “involved in every facet of it for our customers,” including self-checkouts, CCTV and mobile checkout technology, CEO Andrew Faulkner told Arkansas Business. “And we also have some things that allow the stores to know exactly who’s in their store,” which enable retailers to send coupons to customers’ smartphones while they’re shopping, among other capabilities.

Faulkner said retail technologies have become less expensive and more accessible than they were a few years ago, and everyone is using them to compete with the convenience Amazon offers.

“How do you compete with Amazon? Well, you’ve got to provide your customer with a pleasurable, efficient experience, customer experience, inside your store … . The ease of doing business with you is the key,” Faulkner said.

He said smaller chains are seeing what industry giants like Walmart and Kroger are doing and following their lead, so Staley Technologies talks about technologies it is deploying for big chains and proposes similar but more affordable technology for the smaller chains it services.

Scan-and-Go Tech

Faulkner believes scan-and-go technology is the obvious next iteration of self-checkout tech and that use of it will soon grow. With scan-and-go, a customer uses their smartphone to scan products inside a store, pays for them on their smartphone and then leaves the store without going to a register.

But there’s a downside, the same that self-checkouts have had: an increase in products lost to errors and theft.

The average store deploying traditional self-checkouts could see product loss increase by roughly 40%, said Adrian Beck, emeritus professor at the University of Leicester in England. He has written several research reports for the ECR Retail Loss Group in Belgium, which informs national industry groups that include the Retail Industry Leaders Association in Washington.

But stores have found the savings in labor costs from self-checkouts are more than enough to compensate for additional product losses, he and Faulkner said in separate interviews.

“We’ve been consulting with our retailers, and we’ve never seen a situation recently where the reward on the efficiencies of having the mobile and self-checkout didn’t outweigh the potential additional loss that was going to happen as well,” Faulkner said.

With scan-and-go, Beck said, research has shown that some retailers end up losing more money than they make.

With most self-checkout tech, he said, his research determined that half of the loss stores see is malicious and the other half is accidental.

With scan-and-go, a larger percentage is malicious, Beck said.

So retailers are realizing they must invest in controls, he said. Those include having employees patrol self-checkout areas, putting self-checkout in more visible areas and using more accurate scales where products are scanned by customers. Beck added that retailers are balancing customer convenience with minimizing risk because they don’t want customers to have an “unfriendly” experience at their stores.

Going Cashierless

“The self-checkout technology has gotten more robust. It’s gotten better. Now you’re at a point where stores like Walmart and Kroger see the Amazon Go model where there’s absolutely no cashiers,” Faulkner said. “There is a day in the future where we walk into a Walmart or we walk into a Kroger and grab our items off the shelves.”

The first Amazon Go store opened in February 2020 — it was even featured in a March 12 “Saturday Night Live” sketch. The premise is that these small convenience stores, through a variety of technology, allow customers to walk in, pick up and leave with the items they want.

But Beck said the Amazon Go technology is prohibitively expensive and retailers haven’t figured out how to scale it for larger stores with hundreds of thousands of items.

Such stores would also require customers to have memberships and have a credit or debit card registered with them, and many consumers aren’t comfortable doing that, he said.

Beck believes the technology Amazon Go stores use will improve and become more affordable over time, and it could possibly be sold by Amazon.

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India’s Reliance Retail acquires lingerie brand for $125 mln

India's Reliance Retail acquires lingerie brand for $125 mln

NEW DELHI,  – Reliance Retail, owned by Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani, said on Sunday it acquired a majority stake in Purple Panda Fashions Private Limited, which owns a popular lingerie brand, for $125 million, further expanding in the apparel and underwear sectors.

India’s largest retail chain will own an 89% equity stake in Purple Panda Fashions Private Limited, which owns and operates the Clovia lingerie brand, Reliance said in the statement.

“With this acquisition, RRVL (Reliance Retail) will further strengthen its portfolio in the innerwear segment, having already acquired Zivame and Amante brands,” the retail arm of Reliance Industries Ltd (RELI.NS) said in the statement.

Founded in 2006, Reliance Retail owns brands across segments panning groceries, neighbourhood convenience stores, electronic goods, clothes, jewellery, furniture and medicines.

It reported a consolidated turnover of about $21.6 billion and net profit of about $750 million for the year ended March 31, 2021.

($1 = 76.0500 Indian rupees)

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What’s in store for retail: the top 8 trends in 2022

What’s in store for retail: the top 8 trends in 2022

The retail industry is rethinking the shopping experience in 2022, from redefining how we shop and sell to evaluating the huge leg up independent retailers have on the competition.

To help retailers lean on their strengths and build up their strategies, Square teamed with Wakefield Research to survey 1,000 consumers and 500 retail owners and managers about where industry trends are headed in 2022.

What they found was eye-opening—the who, what, where, and why behind our shopping experience are going through a metamorphosis, triggered by omnichannel technology and automated tools.

The 8 biggest trends for the retail industry

  1. Selling online is nonnegotiable.
  2. Omnichannel tools create more meaningful shopping experiences.
  3. Automated technology helps retailers manage the labor shortage.
  4. Same-day delivery gives retailers a clear advantage.
  5. Social commerce is one of the biggest digital trends in the retail industry.
  6. Interactive retail experiences bridge the gap between the online and offline parts of a store.
  7. The borders between retail and other industries continue to blur.
  8. Community investments from retailers may be here to stay.

1. Selling online is nonnegotiable—no matter what you sell.

Online shopping is essential for consumers and table stakes for retailers. Today’s shoppers make 37% of their monthly retail purchases online. And for retailers selling online, 51% of their revenue comes from internet sales.

2. Omnichannel tools create more meaningful shopping experiences—but education is key.

Everyone’s moving to e-commerce (which is why you need an omnichannel strategy), but 32% of retailers say not knowing their options stops them from selling items through newer online and social marketplaces. And 29% say keeping shopping experiences consistent across online and physical channels is a challenge.

Even though retailers are going digital, it’s not an all-or-nothing situation. “Consumers clearly value and use flexible omnichannel experiences, like buying online and picking up or returning in store,” says Roshan Jhunja, GM at Square for Retail.

Shopping habits are evolving, so an integrated solution that ties together multiple channels from front- to back-of-house operations can help retailers find success.

3. Automated technology helps retailers get a handle on the labor shortage.

Nearly 1 in 3 retailers are worried about being able to attract and retain staff in 2022. To help pick up the slack, 72% of biz owners are using (or plan to use) automation to decrease their team’s time spent doing hands-on work.

Streamlining order tracking, managing customer loyalty programs, and communicating with customers are the top three areas where retailers say automated technology will help fill staffing gaps.

4. With supply-chain issues continuing, same-day delivery gives retailers a clear advantage.

Nearly 2 out of 3 shoppers prefer delivery over pickup when shopping online. However, only 38% of retailers currently offer same-day delivery. And with shipping delays and supply-chain issues holding other online purchases hostage, same-day delivery gives local businesses an opportunity to get products out faster than big e-commerce players.

5. Social commerce is one of the biggest digital trends in the retail industry—and it’s booming.

From selling on Instagram to launching an online store, retailers are experimenting with multiple ways to meet the evolving needs of customers, with 75% of those surveyed now selling on social media.

Social selling, brought to you by e-commerce tools, helps retailers reach more customers at a time when people may be even more glued to their devices. And it’s working: 43% of retailers that sell on social platforms say 50%+ of their revenue comes from social media sales.

If you’re interested in trying social selling, see how Square can help you get started quickly with products you already rely on.

6. Interactive retail experiences bridge the gap between a store’s online and offline parts.

As customers get more comfortable buying products through social media, it opens up a whole new way to interact through those platforms.

Enter virtual experiences. More than 1 in 3 retailers plan to invest in livestream shopping in 2022, while 30% also intend to implement virtual reality (VR) shopping.

Through livestreaming and VR, online shoppers get to know a product before they commit to it.

7. The borders between retail and other industries continue to blur.

The pandemic not only sparked business pivots but also fast-tracked industry mashups that were already taking place. Mixed-use concepts, like restaurants selling branded merchandise and retailers offering digital services, are becoming increasingly normal.

In fact, more than 1 in 4 shoppers say they’ve bought retail items from a salon or spa during the pandemic, while 44% have purchased services such as meal and cocktail kits or online cooking classes from restaurants.

8. Community investments from retailers may be here to stay.

Retailers are ready to take the next step with their communities. 68% plan to participate in more community initiatives in 2022—and around 1 in 3 say they’re going to partner with local businesses, provide supplies for local events, and donate supplies to community organizations.

FAQs on the top retail trends

What are the biggest challenges facing retailers in 2022?

According to Square’s Future of Retail Report, supply-chain delays continue to loom as a challenge for retailers, with 48% expecting persistent delays in 2022.

Also, 29% of retail owners and managers worry about remaining competitive against larger big-box stores, and 34% are concerned about operating expenses.

What are the latest trends in retail marketing?

The pandemic has retailers putting their money where their marketing is, with 31% saying COVID-19 pushed them to expand their marketing and advertising efforts. Another 21% of retailers say the pandemic encouraged them to invest in customer loyalty programs.

What is a retail trend analysis?

Using info collected by POS systems, retail trend analysis looks at the data to identify patterns in what’s trending (and what’s not) to help you make the right moves for your business.

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New campaign aims to discourage retail theft

New campaign aims to discourage retail theft

OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – Serial shoplifters have been able to avoid being charged with more serious crimes because of the $950 threshold in California Proposition 47.

Now, there is a new campaign aiming to change that.

We have seen the images and videos of retail stores being hit by groups of thieves across the Bay Area, with seemingly nothing being able to deter them.

“I went and talked to everyone that I could to try to figure out a solution on how we could turn the corner on this rampant theft that we are seeing in our state, and this is what we came up with,” Rachel Michelin, president of California Retailers Association, said.

It is a campaign by the California Retailers Association called Californians for Safe Stores and Neighborhoods.

One of the four primary aims is to deter retail crimes by eliminating the misdemeanor threshold and making repeat offenders eligible to be charged with felonies.

“This means that you have stolen multiple times in order to meet that $950 threshold, which really means you’re a serial shoplifter. So, what we’re bringing back is the ability to aggregate those crimes,” Michelin said.

Speaking by phone, KRON4 ran the idea by a San Bruno jewelry store owner who chased four thieves from his store at gunpoint.

He says he doesn’t think the deterrent goes far enough.

“No! To prevent that, we have to change some sort of a law. They have to do something because the police definitely can’t be everywhere,” Maaz Jewelers owner Usman Bhatti said.

Law enforcement representatives say they support aggregating retail theft crimes but point out what they say is another loophole in current California law – zero bail schedule.

“The larger issue is that folks commit felonies, particularly here in Oakland, gun crimes, and they come back the same day. They commit multiple shopliftings. They come back the same day. What we have to do is that when you commit felonies, you need to stay in jail, or you have to have a bail schedule that’s consummate with the level of crime you committed,” Officer Barry Donelan said.

“That’s not our fight. Our fight is about retail theft. That’s what we are trying to solve,” Michelin said.

 

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