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service

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Customer service to ‘compete with Amazon’

Self-serve locker systems are being prepared to allow rival online retailers to compete with Amazon Go.

Apex Supply Chain Technologies have revealed their new Apex AnyWhere line of self-serving automated systems at this year’s National Retail Federation (NRF) Convention.

The customer-facing, click and collect lockers aim to speed up and improve customer experiences with food and retail services by focussing on improving ‘last inch’ delivery, streamlining mobile ordering and working to ensure products reach customers as simply as possible.

“The technology Apex has on display at NRF shows the breadth and depth of our response to the rapidly changing retail landscape,” says Kent Savage, Apex Supply Chain Technologies founder and CEO, “they need to automate inefficient, manual processes and leverage the power of accurate inventory data.”

Traditionally manual processes such as managing handheld scanners, tablet computers and other inventory-tracking techniques run the risk of wasted time, which in turn wastes money.

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Apex aims to boost productivity and convenience in order to cause a decrease in customer queue times as well as allow employees to serve customers more quickly.

A large and increasingly growing competitor is Amazon, who already offers a highly streamlined and customer friendly interface.

Already implementing click and collect technology, drone delivery on the horizon and the announced Amazon Go to take on the high street retailers, Apex is hoping they can level the playing field.

“As bricks and mortar retailers race to reimagine and reinvent themselves to compete with Amazon and other ecommerce competitors, they must think differently,” said Mr Savage, “they can develop a competitive edge by embracing [online]-connected devices, like those we are showing at this year’s NRF show.”

 

 

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Blog: Toby Cruse: Amazon’s ‘Death Star’ to Take the Skies

Currently, if you want a package delivered from the Amazon’s airborne courier system in the UK, you need to have a large garden live near an Amazon delivery depot and want a very light package, but that’s looking to change.

The service, known as Prime Air, made its first successful touchdown in December, taking just 13 minutes between placing the order and arriving in the user’s back garden just outside of Cambridge.

While the online commercial giant has barely left the ground yet, plans have already been put forward to take the company to greater heights.

Discovered by CB Insight’s Zoe Leavitt, the new patents reveal ‘airborne warehouses’ designed to hang in the sky at 45,000 ft.

Described by Leavitt as Amazon’s very own “Death Star,” the patents also seemingly show designs of multi-purpose docking stations that could be built onto lamp posts, as well as buildings and other structures.

Using communication links known as a ‘Mesh Network,’ the drones will be able to transmit data between each other to send alerts of their environments.

Factors from how clear the weather is to the distance of a customer are hoped to be tackled by these airships, or “airborne fulfilment centres,” which would be able to travel to calmer climates as well as to hotspots where the service is in more greater demand.

The UK laws on drone piloting are continuing to evolve as they become more and more popular, but they currently do not allow for flying over or within 150m of congested areas, or within 50m of any vessel, structure or vehicle not controlled by the pilot.

However, even with these laws the UK is considered much more lenient than many countries. American drone users, for example, required a licence and a special waiver from the Federal Aviation Authority until August last year.

So far the Prime Air sounds very compelling for the 2 customers close enough to an Amazon warehouse to be viable, especially since the service doesn’t cost any more than the customers are already paying, but whether or not your orders are going to be sent to you gift-wrapped from the clouds in the near future is still up in the air.