How the Use of Robots is Shaping the Future of Retail?
Published by : Industrial Automation
Robotic technology is no longer a sound like science fiction in today’s digital world. Most companies around the world are using robots at their warehouses to fulfill orders. Retail stores are now also deploying robots to help make a better consumer experience. At the Amazon's warehouse, it is common to find giant beetle-like robots moving around with vertical shelves stacked on them.
In retail stores, robots, usually refer to retail robots, are conducting several works, and assisting customers in finding products they require. According to ABI Research, Walmart is building its robot army and have already deployed 350 systems for inventory management across its stores in 2019 alone. Robots are taking place in the retail industry mainly because retailers are looking to reduce costs and streamline operations, especially throughout the supply chain. By 2025, it is expected that more than 150,000 mobile robots will be deployed in brick-and-mortar retail companies.
As we are currently dealing with Covid-19, people have been asked to maintain social distancing while shopping to prevent them and their fellow buyers from getting infected with the virus. As a result, some retail companies have deployed robots to help deliver convenience to customers. For instance, Tally, a self-scanning robot deployed at Giant Eagle grocery stores, which captures data on inventory levels and whether products are on the correct shelves. Developed by San Francisco-based Simbe Robotics, the robot is a white, five-foot-tall machine and can operate safely around people during regular store hours. Moreover, it allows employees to focus on customer service and restocking items.
On the other hand, Alert Innovation's Alphabot, which is deployed by Walmart, can roll along rails surrounding storage bins containing food and climbs up the three-story storage structures. The robot is able to navigate three-dimensional structures and can power retail applications ranging from store-level micro-fulfillment systems to massive e-commerce fulfillment centers, along with applications in factory and hospital automation, according to the company. Walmart is using Alphabot since 2019, saying that the machine currently assists with about 20% of its online grocery orders associated with a single fulfillment center in New Hampshire.
Automation is not a new phenomenon for the retail industry, especially in retail supply chains. Tesco, a British multinational groceries and general merchandise retailer, uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) robots that scan inventories for entire stores in just an hour, with far fewer errors.
Moreover, many newest and advanced models of robots are coming to markets, equipped with machine vision algorithms that can capture and evaluate images and video, and respond accordingly. According to reports, retail giant Kroger is planning to build as many as 20 automated grocery warehouses across the US where robots will help fulfill orders placed online. The company is also experimenting with driverless robot delivery cars.
Therefore, as artificial intelligence will become more sophisticated, robotics technology will more be getting advance. And to get more gains and deliver enhanced customer experiences, we believe, retailers will significantly turn to robots assisting grocery stores to keep deliver improved services.