Speed Retail – when e-commerce becomes easier


During the age of digitisation and disruption, there is a never-ending stream of new methods and tools. They accelerate purchase-decision processes. People should be able to shop as quickly and easily as possible from wherever they are without having to overcome difficult obstacles with regard to payment methods and delivery options. The entire sales process will be simplified and accelerated and become less complex.

Shopping at the push of a button

Speed retail is the trend that seamlessly optimises activities from the first point of contact to purchase and delivery. The best known example of this is the Amazon Dash Button. The smart device orders selected products at the push of a button. The desired product is delivered within 24 hours. Users can attach the small button anywhere in the home, for example, to the washing machine, fridge or in the bathroom, to reorder the desired product quickly and easily.

At the beginning of the year, Amazon announced that the small Dash Button would also be launched digitally (initially only in the USA) i.e. via app or website. Amazon’s Dash Button has also been available in Germany since the beginning of September 2016 but is not (yet) available in Switzerland.

The Swiss online dealer, brack.ch, is making the most of this opportunity. Unlike the Amazon device, the BOB (Brack Order Button) has four keys that, via a free app, can be connected with any product in the online shop. So the most important items that we use daily, e.g. paper, toner, erasers and envelopes for the home office, can be ordered at the push of a button without visiting either a physical or an online shop.

Social media goes shopping

In future, platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest want to get involved in online trade and will soon be offering shopping functions via their apps. They want to close the gap between seeing and buying. There’s a similar concept behind the Shop the Wall image-recognition bot. Using artificial intelligence, a product search is performed from platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Via app or web browser, the chatbot searches online shops around the world for the desired products, so facilitating an article search and a straightforward shopping experience with just a few clicks.

Last-mile solutions – express delivery of the future

The ordering process is getting easier and less complicated. But what about delivery to the home? Nsky by Uvionix is a really convenient service. The flying supplier will deliver products such as coffee, jewellery, cosmetics, electronics and medication to the customer’s front door. Goods are ordered conveniently from home via the app and, a few minutes later, the product lands in the garden or by the front door.

Large companies such as Amazon, DPD, DHL and Swiss Post have also been testing the concept of logistics drones for some time now. Swiss Post is working intensively on a project enabling the transport of laboratory samples between two hospitals in Tessin. After approval by the Federal Office for Civil Aviation (BAZL), regular drone flights are expected to start in 2018.

Convenience shopping in extremis

For me, the highlight of the speed retail examples is Amazon Go. With this checkout-free concept, the online trader wants to shake up the industry and become the supermarket of the future. Amazon Go will operate completely without checkouts and checkout staff. You take what you want from the shelf, without scanning it, and then just leave the supermarket.

So what do you need to use it? Anyone who wants to purchase from an Amazon Go shop needs an Amazon account and the Amazon Go app installed on their smartphone. When entering and leaving the shop, simply hold the smartphone to a scanning device. Payment is made by credit card via Amazon, as if the goods had been ordered online.

Of course, all this only works with lots of sensors and ingenious technology.

Amazon Go on YouTube

We’ll have to wait and see whether this concept takes off. In any case, it’s going to be extremely exciting and fascinating to see what happens next. Implementation is not yet compatible with European data protection.

The start of the new shop concept has been postponed for an indefinite period. Due to technical problems … I just thought I should mention this here.