31% of retailers will be using humanoid robots in-store at some point in the future, with 14% expecting to have it in place in the next 12 months, according to Qmatic research. The customer journey management specialist interviewed 52 decision makers with a UK operation, including B&Q, Tesco, John Lewis, House of Fraser and Jane Norman. It also found that half of retailers agree customers are now ready for such advanced technology in-store.
60% believe robotics will improve the in-store experience for customers, with 54% saying it would have a positive impact on the overall omnichannel experience for shoppers. 60% stated that the tech would increase their ability to create seamless services in-store, such as Click & Collect. This topped the poll for the most suitable area of retailing for robots, with 62% of retailers identifying it as among their top three, followed by customer services (48%) and appointment booking or connecting to expert help (42%).
Key challenges are security concerns, identified by 63% of respondents, a fear there would be poor integration with existing technology to reap the benefits of an omnichannel experience (52%) and the expense of implementation or development costs (46%). Only 15% said that consumer adoption would be an issue, and 12% felt that they did not want to replace their workforce with robots for tasks.
Vanessa Walmsley, Managing Director at Qmatic UK, comments: “Most of the retailers we spoke to were positive about the use of humanoid robotics in their stores – for some of the forward-thinking brands, it was very much on their radar. Robots are one way that retailers can offer a personalised, seamless service that very much feels like an extension of how we already run our lives digitally via our smartphones. Robots can offer a valuable touchpoint for retailers where in-store friction – such as queuing or trying to find something – is eliminated, and the number of customers who leave a store without their details being captured is better managed.”