I was just reading an article of FN about the possibility of drones completely changing the landscape of retail, and I was trying to figure out what that will mean for the sneaker industry, especially for retailers like FTL, Finishline, DTLR to name a few. The average consumer is extremely lazy as it is already; how do I know that? Let me just give you a few examples of what has transpired over the past 4 years and you’ll understand. We are at the point in our society where Fast Food places like Burker King are now doing deliveries ( something you would have never dreamt of); shopping malls are closing down by the minute, and why? Because E-commerce has taken over and marketplaces like Amazon, eBay have become the focal point of shoppers. Consumers are becoming more and more impatient and they want their products delivered as soon as they click the “Buy It Now” button. As a result, shipping companies are under tremendous pressure to deliver products at an exponential speed and guess what: the customer is still unsatisfied. And that’s where the drones come into play, according to Jon Ollwerther, vice president of Media at Measure,
To deliver an average package, at a company like FedEx or UPS, it costs dollars — with a drone, you can really move that down to cents. The timeline also can change. Instead of a person hand-delivering boxes, you can have one land vehicle with several other unmanned aerial vehicles doing deliveries autonomously, or you can have one central hub (imagine there was a hub connected to a warehouse delivering within several miles of itself).”
What really caught attention as I was reading the article more was the following interview questions and Jon Ollwerther’s answers to them,
Drones can enhance a label’s branding, like by capturing imagery of a runway show. Might that become a trend?
“We’re already seeing that becoming a trend. What drones do is give you a totally different perspective on the world. Specifically, for these labels, drones are giving the buying public an entirely different view of the product.”
One day, do you think drones will become common in retail?
“Absolutely. The technology is too good. It can dramatically reduce costs, and it can be done safely and thoughtfully. But there are too many variables to put a real guesstimate on when.” source :FN
Immediately after reading this, I thought about Nike and how they could benefit from it. Nike’s main focus as of late has been the DTC ( Direct To Consumer ) push, and you can see how the drones can effectively help the company. Nike has remained in its lane, performance and I can imagine how much capturing compelling imagery with a drone can enhance the brand. Nike is already trying to reduce costs by doing away with its wholesale distribution channels, and if a drone can help in that regard, I don’t see why they would object. Shipping costs can be reduced and delivery speed can be enhanced with the drones as well so Ithink the only thing that stands in the way at this point is the Federal Aviation Administration as mentioned in the FN article.
This could be very bad news for retailers especially with many brands adopting the Direct To Consumer philosophy. I can also foresee many job losses which is bad for the economy. And one thing many of us forget is the importance of human interaction- the more we rely on machines, the less humans we become. I won’t elaborate on that today, stay tuned.