How Drones Will Transform Retail as We Know It

Futuristic as it may sound, drones will likely one day swoop in to alter the landscape of retail. At least that’s what Jon Ollwerther, vice president of Media at Measure, a “drone as a service” company, observed. The company provides aerial solutions for its customers, and through capturing aerial imagery and providing actionable data from it, clients can bolster their business operations.

What is standing in the way of drone delivery for retail?

“Right now, in America, the Federal Aviation Administration determines aviation law, and you can’t fly drones beyond visual line of sight. We expect that to change in the future, but that’s prohibiting a lot of drone delivery.”

What could drones eventually offer in terms of retail delivery?

“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).”

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.”

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