1. Trends & External Forces

Dark stores: the future of retail in the post-pandemic world

Digitalisation has continuously disrupted traditional business models across multiple industries around the world.

With the constant emergence of cutting-edge technology and modern solutions to spearhead growth and profitability, organisations have no choice but to adapt in order to equally survive and thrive.

The retail sector isn’t invincible to this global change. The gradual switch from industrial to digital has been occurring since the late 2000s.

In fact, Tesco opened its first customer-free supermarket back in 2009, fulfilling more than 475,000 online orders weekly.

This unorthodox method of grocery shopping opened doors to multiple opportunities for companies to boost revenue while optimising the customer shopping experience – hence, the birth of dark stores.

In the last 10 years, dark stores were relatively unpopular despite further digital advancements.

It wasn’t until 2020 at the peak of the pandemic that retailers were forced to quickly switch their models from traditional to automated to abide by health protocols and social distancing procedures.

Grocery stores, clothing brands, and home goods retailers converted their physical stores into local fulfilment centres to a) continue business operations despite lockdowns, and b) service stay at home customers.

As the industry slowly transitions into the post-pandemic ecosystem, the convenience of home delivery and pickup orders has permanently revolutionized the shopping experience.

While health related restrictions are slowly being lifted, the comfort of having goods delivered right to the customer’s doorstep has never been diminished. Dark stores are here to stay, whether in partial or full-time form.

1MRobotics, a company that develops fully automated dark stores to enable efficient and scalable last mile operations, are steps ahead in anticipating the role of automation and robotics to fully revamp the future of retail.

Hyperscaling last mile fulfilment

Founded in 2021, 1MRobotics’ mission is to address the pains of last mile operations and make rapid last mile fulfilment profitable at hyper-scale.

They’re a team of seasoned entrepreneurs and experts with cumulative experiences from different companies at various stages, from early establishment through to M&A.

1MRobotics recognises that dark stores are the latest class of infrastructure that’s integral to direct-to-consumer retail and quick commerce. What’s more, the team acknowledges the two crucial needs for fast delivery: physical and hyperlocal proximity.

The biggest industry gap that they noticed is the challenge for any CPG brand/retailer to deliver at maximal efficiency. To hyper-scale last mile fulfilment, 1MRobotics has introduced two state-of-the-art solutions for exponential effectiveness and profitability: 

●      Genesis – This key solution is built to deliver the needs of retail and CPG DTC fulfilment. It’s designed to integrate as efficiently, smoothly, and seamlessly as possible into a store’s existing logistical infrastructures while enabling rapid delivery.

●      Flexsis – It’s specifically designed for the unique and special needs of quick commerce and on-demand rapid delivery. This solution also maintains all the operational advantages of Genesis, such as a) immediate deployment, b) full automation, and c) bulk loading, bringing them into a diversified inventory.

The retail sector has once been considered the most vulnerable area that would massively lose profits and halt operations.

However, as the world recovers from the restrictions of the pandemic and quickly transitions into the new normal, brands are shielded from catastrophic losses with the help of automation.

The huge unknowns and vast uncertainties of the retail world are now well-lit, with dark stores at the epicenter with its illuminating torch.

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