Beo Shopping Center in Belgrade started 2021 off with a new team member. Robot assistance in shopping centers is now a reality in Serbia and in the Balkan region.
The management of Beo Shopping Center decided to introduce the robot within its premises in order to bring more entertainment to its visitors. The robot greets customers, laughs, and provides fun games for all ages.
The robot attracted huge attention, as this is the first one to be presented within a shopping center in the country, but we all know they will soon become a regular sight within most malls across the whole region.
Although it might seem like robots are here for just fun and games, in reality, they are excellent collectors of valuable data and can be used to fight against the spread of the pandemic.
What robots can do for retail?
Ben Forgan, CEO of Hologram, a global IoT connectivity platform, explained it best in an article published at the Harvard Busines Review:
Retail robots are promising to free up workers from routine tasks, presumably giving humans more time for customer interaction. But that is only the beginning of what robots will do. The real benefit of retail robots will be the opportunity to capture more granular data about the products on the shelves and customer buying patterns, which can increase efficiency and accuracy in inventory management.
The key is using retail robots as data-collectors within an internet-of-things (IoT), which is best thought of as a complex network of connected devices, objects, and sensors gathering voluminous data that is analyzed in the cloud or with edge computing. When combined with the advanced capabilities of AI and machine learning, IoT promises to change how we live, work, conduct business, and purchase the goods and services we want and need.
The key to it all may very well be a robot roaming freely, bringing data from the consumer touchpoint in the store aisle into the data management system in the cloud.
Robots are important now in retail because they are able to collect visitor information within physical retail. The information collected can help retailers and shopping centers to understand their customers better, get contact information, build loyalty and overall improve the shopping experience.
Robots being used during the Pandemic
The robot model presented within Beo Shopping Center is also being used in malls worldwide to help out during the pandemic.
For instance, Central World Mall in Thailand uses several types of robots for different tasks, one carries public health messages, while another roams with a bottle of hand sanitizer. Some robots are equipped with thermal scanners to check shoppers’ temperatures as they arrive and the disinfection of escalator handrails is automated.
These battery-powered workers currently patrol Central World mall’s ground floor, with a support team.
When fully integrated, they will operate autonomously using the new 5G technology to guide them around their domain.
Robots are here to stay
Due to their excellent data collection skills, ability to entertain visitors, answer questions, provide valuable information to customers, the use of robots in commercial and retail real estate will be widespread.
Huge investments are now being made in the development of new robotics, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things (IoT) system which will connect physical objects that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the internet.
Robots will soon know everything about us thanks to IoT and will be much more efficient in servicing customers. Let us just hope they don’t replace us one day.