Thursday, December 11, 2014

Trusted Retailers Innovate the Traditional Customer Service Approach by Adding Robots as Staff

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Over the past few years, online sales have increased tremendously and are expected to continue to rise to 10% of all US retail sales (Fitting Room Robots and Smart Mirrors: Can Retail Tech Save Stores?) Brick and mortar stores are trying to pull shoppers into the store, and are using advanced technologies to entice them to do so. 

As everyone is in the middle of holiday shopping, companies have been incorporating new technologies to accommodate the increased volume of shoppers, while still being able to provide excellent customer service. Orchard Supply Hardware is one of the companies focusing on customer service and innovation, and plans to appeal to customers by integrating OSHbots with staff. OSHbots are robotic customer assistants that help customers locate products in the store and provide them with information on the product and current promotions. Not only can they find products, but they can connect with employees from other Orchard stores when human intervention is needed. Check out this video to see OSHbots in action: 

Amazon is also utilizing robots to make sure packages get delivered on time this holiday season. Kiva's [company Amazon purchased in 2012] robots bring shelves of goods out of storage and carry them to employees, allowing Amazon to retrieve more items for more customers simultaneously. Amazon began using these robots in July of this year, and there are now more than 15,000 of them in 10 of the company's warehouses." (Robots Shipping Your Order this Holiday Season)

Artificial Intelligence and robotics are working together to revolutionize how we look at customer service. Do you think other retailers are going to adopt robotic sales associates? If so, how do you think customers will react?