What can robotic deliveries and checkout-less shops teach entrepreneurs?

I’m fascinated by the way technology is continually transforming the way we live and do business. A couple of developments in particular have caught my attention recently, so I decided to a look at these advances and what they can teach entrepreneurs.

Takeaway droids and retail automation

Pizza delivery man with pizza boxes
Could the pizza delivery guy soon be replaced by droids?

Ordering a takeaway is nothing new, but what if your meal was delivered not by a person but by a robot?

This is precisely what happened to a customer in Greenwich recently. Working in partnership with Starship Technologies, food delivery company Just Eat became the first in the world to successfully deliver a meal using a droid – and the business announced it intends to expand the use of these sci-fi style deliveries across London. The six-wheeled droids, which have a range of 10 miles, unlock when customers enter a code sent to their phones. How incredible is that?!

If you get fed up waiting in checkout queues, you might be as intrigued as I am by Amazon’s plans to roll out checkout-free stores in the UK. Recently, the online retailer opened its first Amazon Go food shop in Seattle for its employees to use.

It contains sensors that automatically record the products that people pick up. The total bills are then charged to customers’ Amazon Prime accounts, doing away with the need for checkouts and meaning that people can simply grab and go.

The company has now registered a UK trademark for the Amazon Go concept, so watch this space.

Entrepreneurs need to adapt

Clearly, if technological developments like these are rolled out more widely, they will have a major impact on consumers. But what can they teach business leaders?

I think one of the big lessons that companies can take from these advances is the importance of being prepared to adapt and move with the times. The sheer pace of change in areas like retail means that businesses which refuse to embrace new ideas and ways of working risk being left behind.

For many companies, standing still is simply not an option. Unless they innovate and find increasingly sophisticated solutions on an ongoing basis, there is a real danger that they will be outsmarted and outflanked by their more adventurous competitors.

Great entrepreneurs embrace new technologies

A big part of moving with the times is embracing new technologies. Of course, this doesn’t mean that all businesses will be rushing to make use of customer-facing robots or other similarly attention-grabbing solutions, but there are a host of more subtle ways in which companies can take advantage of sophisticated technologies.

From using the latest cloud-based communication tools that make it easier for colleagues to share and access information to monitoring the efficiency of vehicle fleets with GPS systems, businesses can harness the power of technology in many different ways.

Entrepreneurs clearly understand the importance of this issue too. According to a poll conducted by Real Business, 60 per cent of owners of small to medium-sized businesses in the UK believe that companies must stay up to date with the latest technological trends if they are to survive.

I couldn’t agree more and will be endeavouring to ‘move with the times’ as much as possible in my own businesses.

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