The Metro Group has begun trial home deliveries using robots, for orders placed at its Media Markt unit, in the most significant move of its kind in the retail industry thus far.
The unit said it is testing deliveries of packages weighing up to 10kg, which are being made by two robots to an address within a 5km radius from an outlet in Dusseldorf. Under current laws, the robots can only travel during daylight, move at a standard walking pace on the footpath, and have to give way to oncoming pedestrians.
When reaching the address, the robot will send a message to the customer’s mobile phone as well as a code that will allow the customer to open the lid of the robot to get their order. The robots, which are currently accompanied by a human minder, can deliver 30 minutes to 3 hours from the time the order is placed (Metro also offers a 2-hour window over the four days following the order). The express delivery currently costs €14.95, but Metro said using robots could help it lower those charges.
- Where at: Too big to steal (?) despite carrying valuable merchandise, novelty alone should give Metro-robots a temporary advantage over human alternatives
- Where headed: Merely the start of an alternative way of accessing consumers, closely followed/in tandem with Amazon, with cost of capital investment – or falling wage-costs the only limitation
- Effect on you: An opportunity to capitalise on the novelty in appropriate categories, via imaginative proposals…
- Action: How about a what-if on robot delivery being universally available and scope out the possibilities for your brand, ahead of more conservative competition?