Are shoppers accepting robots at retail?
Robotic innovation has taken over the retail industry as grocers like The Kroger Co. and Walmart ambitiously seek ways to reduce costs of online delivery and pressure from non-supermarket competition. But how do consumers feel about it?
According to Forbes, robot artificial intelligence technology can use algorithms to recall shopper preferences, quickly cross reference shelf prices and can work around the clock. Cincinnati-based Kroger, in addition to building 20 robot-automated warehouses in the U.S., is testing driverless robot delivery cars. Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart has adapted robots to scan and sort inventory and identify shelf items that are out of stock. And at 172 GIANT Food Stores in the mid-Atlantic as well as 100 Stop & Shop stores in New England, a pillar-shaped robot named Marty scopes the aisles for hazards such as spills and runs price checks.
However, some consumers may have negative reactions to the increase of robotic involvement within their shopping stores, ranging from feeling uncomfortable being near them to concerned that they will take over their jobs.
According to a study conducted by the University of Wisconsin, people tend to hold robots to high standards. As one report described it, according to Forbes: “It is almost as if people ‘forgave’ the human advisor for making a mistake but did not extend the same feelings of forgiveness to the computer.”
To read the Forbes article, click here.