Robots in retail

2022-03-22 by EPR Staff

Robots, to some extent, ensure safety for human beings as they can work in risky circumstances. Not only is their work accurate, which reduces wastage, they can also work for greater lengths of time compared to human beings. This also lessens the cost of production and makes goods cheaper. With the pandemic, demands for hygiene have increased, particularly in retail and hence stores are using robots to serve customers better.

Amazon as the trendsetter

Amazon started using robots in its warehouses in 2012. In a recent blog post, the behemoth demonstrated how its robots improve the safety of its workplace for its human employees. For instance, a robot named Ernie,removes bulky product containers called totes from shelves at different heights. This is to ensure that the human workers do not have to bend or stretch beyond what can be considered safe. Hence, contrary to popular belief, robots do not put the jobs of humans at risk, on the other hand, they make working facilities safer for human employees. Amazon’s robots have become an intrinsic part of Amazon’s warehouses. Very soon, human workers could take the help of robots to carry heavy loads across warehouses, lessening instances of injury. There are other stores that make use of robotic systems as given below.

Lowebot in Lowe’s

Lowe’s, the home improvement giant, uses LoweBot, a robot shopping assistant. It is 5-feet tall and helps employees and customers. It helps employees with inventory management and guides customers around the store. It can speak 7 languages and customers can seek its help while looking for items in the store. The bot will guide them through aisles and take them directly to the items. It also sends updated information to store associates and helps them in inventory tracking. The aim is to free associates so that they can have more time to advise customers on products. The bot would definitely not replace associates, rather they would help in making the service more personalized.

Walmart’s Alphabot

Alphabot has been developed for Walmart by Alert Innovation. It is an automated system that sorts and packs grocery items at very high speed.It picks items at room temperature, as well as frozen and refrigerated items. It picks orders almost ten times faster than a human. This would help Walmart to increase its capacity for orders as demands for online grocery orders increases due to the pandemic. Alphabots can also climb up three-story storage structures and remove storage bins containing food. It then takes it to a human worker who picks out the required item. This helps to speed up online orders.


Robots may not have been able to work out how to arrange attractive displays on store shelves that would appear appealing to customers, but they can be helpful to associates and customers alike in numerous ways. Marty, a grocery store bot, warns customers about potential hazards like spills. Marty is tall, with limpid eyes and alerts customers to problems. Marty can now warn customers by saying, ‘Caution. Hazard detected.’ It can also reach store associates through the public announcement system of stores.He also focuses on price mismatches.