The Rise of Robots in Retail

The rise of robots in the retail industry is a real event that is currently happening. In fact, Amazon alone uses 30,000 robots across 13 different warehouses. The reason why robots are being used more and more frequently in retail is because robot technology is improving, and because robots don’t require salaries.

In other words, it is making more and more sense financially for retailers to use robots. If retailers can get a robot to perform a task efficiently, and they don’t have to pay the robot, then this can increase profit margins.

What can robots do in retail?

Robots have been developed, and are either in the testing phase, or are already in use that can move products, retrieve products, speak to customers to help them find items, make deliveries to homes, and many more.

Retail technology improves every year. So called “smart mirrors,” which allow people to digitally try on clothes are possibly right around the corner. With so many technological advances in retail, it is highly likely that more and more robots will appear in retail stores and warehouses as time goes on.

What is the downside?

The downside of robots being on the rise in the retail world is that it may cost many workers their jobs. Also, many people who shop in retail stores prefer to speak with actual sales or customer service people when they need help. So, some of the personal features of retail shopping may be lost in the future.

However, retail companies may simply try to use robots for the more mundane tasks, and keep human workers for the jobs that actually involve interfacing with customers. So, in the future, it is possible that many retail stores will use a team that involves both human employees and robot workers.

Conclusion

51 % of shipping and logistics companies who were interviewed in a survey reported believing that using robots provides a competitive advantage. Because the shipping and logistics are heavily intertwined with retail, it is very likely that many retail companies will use robots to try to gain an advantage against their competitors in the near future.

The fact that minimum wage is rising in many places in the United States is also likely to drive retailers to seek robot alternatives to human workers. Robot workers can provide many benefits to retailers. But, we will still have to wait in order to see exactly how retail companies use them in the years to come.

Karin Jakovljevic

About the author

Karin Jakovljevic

Karin Jakovljevic is the head of marketing at Ximble, a powerful, cloud-based workforce management system, simplifying employee scheduling and time tracking for retailers, restaurants and small businesses.

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