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Why we should get used to the sight of humanoid robots in stationary retail

Why we should get used to the sight of humanoid robots in stationary retail

The sight of humanoid robots in stationary retail is still exotic. But there are good reasons why they can be used regularly in the future. The robot Pepper was used in a shopping center and ensured increased customer satisfaction, entertaining and informing at the same time.

If you encounter a humanoid robot while shopping, would you steer clear of it or walk towards it? The visitors to the Stuttgart shopping center “Das Gerber” were exposed to this situation. They were thus part of the “Robotics in Retail” field study by the Munich-based e-commerce consultancy elaboratum.

Pepper can break paradigms

During its six-day mission, the humanoid robot “Pepper” offered visitors to the shopping center four different conversation situations: They could get information about an event in the department store in simple conversations, were asked about their customer satisfaction and could play or play a short game with it take a selfie. This deliberately simple scenario was used to test the acceptance of humanoid robots in retail.

The result of the survey of 257 shopping center visitors

A little more than half of the visitors of all ages interacted actively and directly with Pepper, the other half passively observed the interaction between visitors and Pepper. The proportion of men and women who interacted with Pepper was almost the same. Although men rated themselves significantly more tech-savvy, women found themselves more fun talking to the robot. “Especially retail companies whose range consists mainly of technical products and whose customer group consists mainly of men, could also inspire more female customers with Pepper”, concludes study author Patrick Meyer. Pepper was able to inquire about customer satisfaction anonymously and at the same time entertain and inform customers. Every second customer found Pepper to be useful or very useful in the situation shown. If Pepper then suggests ordering the desired product online for the customer right away, brick-and-mortar retail and online retail are linked to provide the best possible customer experience.

Less shy of criticism

Another result: While only one in three respondents used a robot