Despite a steady drumbeat of progress for retail robotics, the industry remains quite a bit away from mainstream implementation. The retailers who have integrated them, however, are singing their praises, especially during the pandemic.
“In the supply chain or for CSRs, consumers have negative associations with human workforce reductions — understandably in this economy,” says Tiffany Vasilchik, SVP of growth strategy at consultancy Magid. “Additionally, a significant number of consumers are still not completely comfortable dealing with robots. This lack of comfort needs to be addressed before we’ll see widespread acceptance of robots as a customer service and experience aid.”
The pandemic has also had caused many of us to crave human connection, meaning creating and sustaining human bonds is more important than ever, says Vasilchik. “Retailers who can balance the juxtaposition of deploying robotics while delivering emotionally resonant human interaction will be the winners of the future.”