Six Retail Tech Trends To Watch For 2019 That Go Beyond Competing Against Amazon

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Published January 20, 2019

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More robots will become fulfillment centers’ model employees.

With Amazon’s 100,000-plus robotic drive units a big part of its fulfillment-center secret sauce, rivals are eager to employ their own robots to help fulfill growing online orders faster.

Tompkins Robotics, for example, has introduced its own t-Sort robotic drive units that can sort individual items to help retailers cut the order processing time. Four of the top 15 U.S. retailers are its customers, Tompkins Robotics President Mike Futch said, declining also to specify. Some of its retail customers also are looking at deploying those robotic devices in the backrooms of their supercenters to fulfill same-day or next day delivery orders from stores. “We are growing tremendously,” Futch said.  “Some retailers have decades-old technology on a fixed- track big loop.”

To be sure, Tompkins’ robotic unit is different from Amazon’s, which has the ability to move and navigate entire shelf of a mix-match of products.

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