Robots in Retail

400afbrobot in retail

According to a new RetailWire survey, one in four retailers say they currently have an in-store robotics project underway, and nearly half say they will be involved in one in the next 18 months,

The results of the survey, conducted last month, underscore the growing significance of robotic automation technology in the post-pandemic marketplace. These technologies are seen as key for assisting workers with a variety of tasks, from floor cleaning to shelf scanning, both in stores and in warehouses.

64% of retailers believe it is important to have a clear robotics automation strategy in place in 2021, including 77% of large retailers.
Nearly half of the respondents say they set up in-store robotics project within the next 18 months.
73% of large retailers say the importance of using robotics in warehouses or distribution centers has increased due to the pandemic.
Other pandemic factors included the need to provide a safer, cleaner store for shoppers; the need for enhanced social distancing; and the need to improve on-shelf inventory availability.

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The survey shows that increased cleanliness standards are the new normal: the vast majority (72%) of respondents say they do not anticipate much change in consumer expectations toward in-store cleanliness even after vaccines are broadly distributed.

"The global pandemic brought the value of robotic automation sharply into focus for many retailers, and we now see them accelerating their deployment timelines to reap the advantages now and into the future," said Josh Baylin, Senior Director of Strategy at Brain Corp. "Autonomous robots are versatile productivity partners that help keep stores clean, generate additional hours for employees, and help improve in-store customer experiences."

While robotic technology in retail has slowly been gaining steam over the years, RetailWire said it found the new accelerated adoption trends expressed in the survey "stunning" and "surprisingly large."

"These are not the kinds of numbers indicative of an emerging technology in an early phase of deployment in retail, but of a technology just a few short years from widespread adoption," according to the report. "Armed with this kind of data, retailers will be able to discover actionable insights, make smarter decisions and increase store productivity."

The survey queried 136 respondents in the retail industry, including retailers and wholesalers, retail consultants, tech solution providers, and brand marketeers and manufacturers. For further information, download the free executive summary, "Robots in Retail: Examining the Autonomous Opportunity" or go to

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