Here’s a huge number: $94 billion. This is how much the smart retail market could be worth by 2025. Supermarkets provide essential services to people worldwide. Even now, when people are using online food services to buy groceries, supermarkets are still the cornerstone for consumers. Ever since the pandemic started, some grocery chains and warehouse clubs have seen massive spikes in demand because consumers have been keen to stock groceries. But this trend poses two critical challenges: How do stores know that they have enough stock of what’s needed, and how do they ensure there is less person-to-person interaction once people enter the supermarket or reach the billing counter, thus creating long queues?
IoT is the powerhouse, the framework for smart supermarkets. Smart supermarkets utilize various IoT devices which are mutually connected — in essence, they associate sensor tech to the commonly used things in stores. IoT is already making waves in retail. There are many examples to prove it ¸— from smart shelves which help align procurement with consumer purchasing habits to in-store buyer behavior tracking. Ultimately this will help them make the right decisions and keep their store fresh and fully stocked, which would eventually attract new and retain old customers . Walmart CEO Doug McMillon points out in the World Economic Forum: “With the growth of the internet of things, customers will enjoy an increasingly connected or ‘smart’ shopping experience through a network of connections linking the physical and digital worlds into an ecosystem of devices, including vehicles, stores, and software […] The Internet of Things, drones, delivery robots, 3D printing, and self-driving cars will allow retailers to automate further and optimize supply chains. Both sides of the equation – demand and supply – will change dramatically.”And robots play a major role here.
The Rise of Robots in Retail
Currently, most retail shopping systems identify products based on barcode scanning, thus creating long queues in supermarkets that take much of the consumers’ time and make crowds. Some of the disadvantages of barcodes are:
Inconvenience in managing shelves
Inadequacy in quickly reviewing the product information
More analysis time
Imagine that you create an account at your local smart grocery store and connect it with your bank account, and when you enter the shop and leave it with needed groceries, money is withdrawn from your account with the amount required for bought groceries. This is possible because of robots and their various smart sensors since the “shop” knows which person is inside and what they are buying. Imagine that you go to the supermarket simply bare-handed, take what you want and just leave freely. Simple as that. Retail robotics can help so much more in improving the overall customer experience. A Cable Robot is a good example. Although it is only finding its place in this industry, it has enormous potential to improve customers’ overall journey once they enter a supermarket.
How Does a Cable Robot Help?
Cable Robots are somewhat modern types of robots. They belong to the family of parallel robots. They are not only highly portable and robust but they can also be flexibly implemented in various environments. This is what makes them ideal to use in a variety of industries and larger spaces. Cables enable the efficient transmission of power, and each cable can bear almost several tons. When building applications where maintaining safety is critical, for example, when lifting fragile or heavy loads, more cables can be added to prevent the failure of separate components. Also, the workspace can be extended. This enables manufacturing processes that involve the automation of very big components, such as aircraft fuselages or rotor blades for wind turbines. Additionally, compared to more popular serial robots, these robots have higher speed and acceleration and a higher level of security. . Besides manufacturing and retail robotics, Cable Robots can be used at big public and outdoor venues, such as football or tennis matches. Cable Robots could be suspended at corners of the grocery store, and equipped with several modern sensors. For example, this robot can carry a camera that can easily track users inside the shop, which could ultimately be used with a smart AI algorithm to determine which user bought what and what the state of products on the shelves is. Also, robots equipped with cameras can, by using smart algorithms, detect “problematic” groceries (rotten tomatoes, expired milk,…), which can help grocery staff act accordingly. Additionally, these robots could then be used as a certain level of security inside the shop and by using smart algorithms to promptly inform forces of law if they detect improper or unusual consumers’ behavior. This could lead to a quick response, and any damage could be avoided. Cable Robots are still in a testing phase but are about to come to the stage in all their blaze and glory, as they have so much value to offer to businesses and consumers. The most significant benefit of this robot is that it is relatively silent and moves through the air above consumers, which allows it to monitor their behavior without taking too much space or distracting them. Also, unlike most robots that are rather large and take up too much space in supermarkets where consumers walk, Cable Robots take up less space, and people are almost not aware of them as they are above their heads. Plus, some people are slightly intimidated by giant robots of human size as they are not like human beings people are used to talking to.
So, is the Cable Robot an ultimate solution?
Let’s sum things up:A Cable Robot is attached to the ceiling with cables and moves above consumers’ heads. It monitors consumers’ behavior, keeps track of what they buy and when they enter the supermarket. This Cable Robot can also monitor what happens on shelves and inform workers about it. Also, it can register suspicious activities and improper consumer behavior and then notify the police about it. All these features give Cable Robots an advantage inside smart grocery stores, and they can help lower manual labor and help move humanity toward a healthier life. However, as with all robots, removing manual work from our lives is a problem. People lose their routine jobs, and unemployment grows. But, on the other hand, customer satisfaction depends on the synergy of people’s best efforts and technology. So the combination of online and offline channels creates an omnichannel where new opportunities emerge, leading to ultimate customer happiness. Leveraging retail robotics and science robotics to build robots and put them inside shops can lower the chance of people getting hurt, significantly improve customer experience and speed things up. Also, by creating new technology and using it, new opportunities open, and people can be taught to use them, which would give them a chance to start a new career.
Embrace Retail Robotics for Customers’ Happiness
As retail businesses of all sizes are focused on keeping up with the growing demands of clients, decision-making plays a crucial role in successful digitalization. Thankfully, our tech experts can take the guesswork out of the decision-making process. Reach out to talk to one of our experts to learn how we can help you build a smart retail business and get ahead of the curve.
References: Sagar Sojitra, Asst. Prof. Rahul G. Patel (2016). A Review of Smart Shopping Systems. International Research Journal of Engineering and Technology, 3(5), 2166-2168 Ljubinko Kevac, Mirjana Filipovic, Aleksandar Rakic (2017). The trajectory generation algorithm for the cable-suspended parallel robot—The CPR Trajectory Solver. Robotics and Autonomous Systems, 94, 25-33.
I like to think of myself as an engineer and scientist. I love to solve problems both in a team and on my own, and I believe that the most important thing is to find the best solution. I have worked in various fields including robotics and automotive industry and I like expending my knowledge in new directions.
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