Hiring robots to help with day-to-day operations has been a move that many industries and business owners have been making. From restaurant owners to food delivery businesses, robots are getting hired to cut down on costs while improving the rate of productivity. Seeing the benefits and advantages of robots in the workforce, retail companies have also heavily been investing in these AI employees year on year.
In a report published by Insider Intelligence, data shows that 28% of medium to large US warehouse and fulfillment center operators have already been employing robots since 2019. On an annual basis, this percentage has been steadily increasing as data forecasts that it will increase to 44.5% by 2023. With companies such as Agility Robotics designing robots specific for warehouse jobs, then we can only expect more retail companies to employ robots to help in efficiency and cost trimming.
The percentage of in-store retail robots has also been showing consistent growth since 2019. According to the data published by eMarketer in July 2021, the deployment of in-store retail robots by US retailers with more than $10 million in annual revenues has grown from 24.5% in 2019 to 34% in 2021. The forecasted growth of in-store retail robots within the year 2022 is 36.5% and 37.5% in 2023.
As with any major changes, there are a few who have voiced certain reservations and unease about the idea of having robots (or more of them) in the retail workforce. Current employees are concerned about the possibility of being displaced because robots may replace them. However, robots are designed to help and take over ‘mundane’ repetitive tasks such as cleaning, stocking, and lifting while human employees can focus on more high-value tasks.
This is especially useful in the retail industry because it allows employees to focus on providing customer service and pushing sales, which are jobs that customers may appreciate a human touch on.
In any case, the effectiveness of robots in the retail industry can be assumed given the year-on-year percentage increase. After all, as the world is becoming more technology-driven, employing robots to join the company may just be the adaptive and strategic solution that industries should start investing in.