NRF’s Big Show 2019 should have been held in Phoenix. Like that city’s namesake, a long-lived bird of mythology, retail cyclically regenerates, arising from the ashes of its predecessor. While retail is clearly not in ashes, it is being reinvented before our eyes.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the second biggest retail and ecommerce sales events globally each year (second only to Singles Day). During this time, companies would historically hire an abundance of temporary labor to ramp up their ability to move product onto their racks and move this material off of those same shelves to the customer. But, the well documented shortage of labor in many major markets, including the US, Japan, Germany, and more, has made it more difficult and more expensive to increase capacity in this manner. Companies today, however, have a new set of tools at their disposal to help ramp up capacity. Robots are helping companies more quickly adapt to short term capacity increase requirements.