Robot warehouses: automating the on-demand economy

John Koetsier
1 min readApr 5, 2022

Digital retail giant Amazon has over 200,000 robots helping deliver more than 350 million different products in an unceasing flood of billions of deliveries. How will others compete?

Amazon’s fulfillment machine with both free and fast shipping has become a key competitive moat against other retailers: free shipping and 1-day or 2-day shipping is why Amazon customers chose Amazon.

So how can other retailers, whether giants like Walmart or smaller brands, compete? One way is by stealing a march on the e-commerce behemoth and automating themselves.

This surge in automation, driven by our on-demand economy, is boosting growth of the warehouse robotics space more than 15% every year and and causing the ecosystem to more than double in size by 2027, hitting over $23 billion in value. Plus, according to industry experts, it’s also boosting productivity 200–300%.

Sometimes in simpler ways than you might think.

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John Koetsier

Senior contributor @ Forbes. Host of the TechFirst podcast. Find me here: