The Record - Issue 19: Winter 2020

140 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om 400 online orders per day in an MFC spanning just 6,000 square feet. Elsewhere in Tel Aviv, Fabric has created an MFC in an 18,000-square- foot triangular space under the Shalom Meir Tower for a grocery retailer which aims to fulfil all online orders in less than a day and, for some cus- tomers, within an hour. “Fabric’s automated MFC system reduces picking errors and makes it easy for retailers to significantly increase the number of orders they fulfil in a day,” says Rajagopalan. MFCs are also making it easier for CPG com- panies to develop their own e-commerce plat- forms for the first time. “Traditionally, CPG organisations manufacture products and leverage well-established supply chains to distribute and sell these items via retail partners, but this model has left them vulner- able during the pandemic,” says Rajagopalan. “Consequently, many are now exploring the benefits of a direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales model, where they sell some products directly to end users themselves. Innovations such as MFCs can help them fulfil orders rapidly and cost-effectively because they don’t need to invest in building expensive centralised warehouses for what may be a small DTC product range.” Moving to a DTC model with the help of tech- nologies like Episerver’s e-commerce platform allows CPG firms to ensure their products still reach end users without needing to rely on retail partners. “Not only does this boost sales, but it also allows them to create an instant digital relationship with every customer and capture previously inaccessible data throughout sales and after-sales processes so they can unlock valuable new insights and better understand their target demographic.” Rajagopalan predicts that as they plan for 2021, retailers and CPG companies will prioritise investments in technologies that will make their supply chains more agile and open up faster and more cost-effective order fulfilment options. She also expects more CPG companies will imple- ment DTC models – at least in the short term until shopping in physical stores can resume properly but most likely in the long term too. As part of this, both CPG companies and retailers will also focus on finding ways to better integrate digital payment services into their e-commerce platforms or roll out fully contactless payment solutions in physical stores. “Microsoft will continue to collaborate closely with our partners to ensure we can equip our retail and CPG customers with the innovative tools and technologies they need to easily adapt their operational processes and services and keep pace with rapidly evolving market trends and cus- tomer needs and expectations,” she says. F E ATUR E Microsoft expects retailers will invest in contactless payment solutions over the next year