Finding a light bulb in Home Depot is a very lonely experience, as you are often alone wondering how to convert conventional wattage into LED amps. I say lonely as the orange apron is no where to be found. Lowe’s thinks it has found a way to be competitive in the retail landscape in time for the holiday season.
“Retail really hasn’t changed much in the last couple hundred years,” Kyle Nel, executive director of Lowe’s Innovation Lab, says in the video. “The robots are the first thing that can really change the customer experience.”
The robot uses the same sensors as Google’s driverless cars to avoid collisions and every night it updates its map of the store’s inventory.
Nel told Ad Age that the robots aren’t meant to replace retail workers.”What our sales associates are amazing at doing and what they love spending time on are consulting and helping customers with their projects and solving their problems,” Nel said. “We can let the robots answer questions like, ‘where are the hammers?'”
Lowe’s worked with Singularity University and a startup called Fellow Robots to make the customer service machines a reality. However, Lowe’s hasn’t said whether it will expand the robot program to other stores, so I will have to wait until it arrives in New York. As we enter a more robotic age, sales associates have to now compete not only for sales per square foot but product knowledge with an ever growing database. I wonder when will they wear orange aprons?