Sunday Morning Disruptive Technology – Robot Shop Assistant
We all know how frustrating it can be trying to find the right size in a pile of jeans, or waiting for an shop assistant to help or just dealing with a grumpy shop assistant. Well this could be the answer.
Hointer is a new retail experience in the US, they are offering a 21st century shopping experience using mobile tech and robots. Awesome.
So you walk into the shop, all the jeans are hanging up in full view. You browse like you would online, take your time to decide on which jeans you want and then when you have found them – you take out mobile phone, scan the QR code on the Hointer app and select the size you want. Now this is the best bit, it tells you on your phone to go to changing room 3 and when you get there a robot in the store room has found your jeans and sent them down a chute into your changing room. Love it.
Watch the video at geekwire, my favourite bit is when the presenter says “automagically” delivered into your changing room. Automagical – its a real word!
So what does this mean for retail?
Well, the first and obvious one is less staff. Online retail is highly competitive in part because of not carrying staff costs. This could be exactly the same. The security guard at the shopping mall could open the shop up in the morning, turn on the lights and then not have to do anything else until shutting the shop in the evening. The items on display are secured so there is no need to worry about shoplifting. You don’t need to worry about shutting the shop when the assistant needs to go to the loo.
There are then many knock on effects that shopping mall owners should consider. This is an opportunity to continue to get punters to their malls, as good and as cheap as online shopping but you can experience the touch and feel rather than just the look. Combine that with the shopping centre being a destination – fun, community focused and multi-purposeful and there might be a chance to get that automagical feeling.