retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Business Insider has a story suggesting that Walmart and Target may actually be better positioned to take advantage of drone technology than Amazon, which has pushed the concept "the hardest" because it has seen drones as having enormous potential for helping it "extend its massive lead in e-commerce."

Fortunately for Walmart and Target, the story says, "the key to cashing in on the disruptive potential of drones and checking Amazon’s advantage in cutting-edge technology is something they have: lots and lots of stores. These legacy retailers’ extensive networks of stores put them in a better position than Amazon to go all in on drone delivery ... because a drone’s effective range is pretty small. And a big share of Walmart and Target customers live close to one of their stores — especially compared to the percentage of Americans who live within such range of Amazon’s fulfillment centers. That’s crucial to drone delivery’s prospects for success."

In fact, not only do Walmart and Target customers tend to live closer to those stores than Amazon customers do to that company's fulfillment centers, but Walmart and Target shoppers also tend to make average transactions that are small enough to be perfect for drone delivery."
KC's View:
The story says, rightly, that there remain a lot of issues about drones that remain to be resolved, such as consumer receptiveness, governmental regulation, and the technological innovation that is necessary to make drones both efficient and effective. There's also Amazon's resolve to be dealt with - Walmart and Target may not be able to match Amazon's dedication to testing out ideas that mess with what most companies see as being "normal."

But that's okay. as one MNB reader said when the whole drone concept was unveiled, if they don't invest in drones, they can always but a bunch of anti-aircraft guns.