Can Robots Improve Shopping?

This article is based on a story originally published in It Is Innovation (i3) magazine, published by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)®.

Overview Retailers are experimenting with using robots to improve customer engagement by make shopping more convenient, experiential and personalized.

From humanoid robots that greet shoppers to robots that sort and scan new inventory in the warehouse, retailers are looking for ways to deliver the best in-store experience.

In-Store Customer Service

Retailers are trying out robots to engage with customers in stores, and so far the robots are being used to do the following:

  • Give directions and help customers find merchandise using GPS navigation.

  • Answer questions and look up product information.

  • Hand out samples.

  • Entertain customers by dancing, playing music and taking selfies with shoppers.

Store Management

By freeing up staff from tasks that can be automated, retailers are giving them more time to assist shoppers. Robots are being used to help with more mundane tasks like the following:

  • Manage inventory.

  • Restock shelves.

  • Address worker shortages.

  • Automatically manage logistics. 

Moving Inventory

Retailers face pressure for supply chains to perform flawlessly, efficiently and transparently, and they’re exploring how robots can help automate the ecosystem. Some of the largest U.S. retailers are using robots in their warehouses for the following:

  • Order fulfillment.

  • Scan and sort items.

  • Retrieve requested inventory.

  • Looking ahead, teamwork between robots and humans will help retailers cut costs while increasing traffic and driving sales in stores.

Dive deeper with case studies by reading "Robots Transforming Retail" in i3 magazine.

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It Is Innovation (i3) magazine, the flagship magazine from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)®, focuses on innovation in technology, policy and business as well as the entrepreneurs, industry leaders and startups that grow the consumer technology industry.

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