Stores have become an indispensable part of the omnichannel strategy in times of Covid: it is a place where parcels get prepared, sent or collected from. Deloitte believes this trend will continue. But how can it be done more efficiently?
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Is it a fulfilment centre or a store? The future will be all about a mixture of the two: hybrid shops. The Covid-19 pandemic has given stores a new purpose, notes real estate player CBRE.
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Zalando now charges a "distance fee" to customers in the Benelux for packages coming from further afield. The free shipping trendsetter is retracing its steps, and others will follow.
For the first time, Amazon has bought its own aircraft: 11 used passenger Boeings are converted into cargo aeroplanes. The e-commerce giant is also flying to Europe: in Germany, Amazon Air is now leasing two planes.
Does a digital Christmas also mean that an unseen number of presents will be returned? As the past few weeks have seen massive online purchases, American retailers are already bracing themselves for a tidal wave of returns.
HelloFresh can no longer keep up in Germany. Demand has exploded to such an extent that the mealbox provider is bribing customers to cancel their weekly order: those who cancel will receive ten euros.
Since October, Decathlon has been testing a new technological solution in several Belgian stores in Belgium to optimise the so-called 'last-mile logistics'.
As early as next year, Walmart will be using self-driving lorries for deliveries in two American states. The American hypermarket group strongly believes in the future of autonomous vehicles.
Colruyt Group has recently become Europe's first to test a 44-ton all-electric truck with a hydrogen "range extender". The retailer has been investing in hydrogen solutions for some time now.
Mondial Relay, a company distributing parcels through pick-up points, strengthens its position in the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Spain. The company will also start operating in Portugal.
Walmart is turning four of its hypermarkets into laboratories, which are investigating how to make better use of the retailer's physical stores for e-commerce. The chain is testing different technologies there.
As from next year, Alibaba will start delivering online orders with autonomous robots. At its annual technology conference, the Chinese Amazon rival unveiled its new fleet of self-driving robots, capable of finding their way all by themselves.
Amazon is recruiting 100,000 new warehouse workers, as the online retailer takes 100 additional logistics hubs into operation in the US. Jeff Bezos' company is also looking for as many as 33,000 office and technology employees.
French retail chain Carrefour has started a test in Paris, with a pick-up point for pedestrians that is fully automated. There is even a separate part for frozen foods.
The days of low-cost packages imported directly from China are over, experts at the University of Antwerp predict. The sharp increase in shipping and delivery costs coupled with the capacity decrease caused by the coronavirus only add to existing problems.
Non-food discounter Action is facing problems restocking its stores. Due to delays in China and reduced activity in distribution centres, the discounter was not prepared for the rush after lockdown ended in several countries. As a result, shelves still sit empty in some stores.