Retail robots promise to relieve workers of routine tasks, allowing humans to devote more time to customer interaction.

That's just the start of what robots will be capable of.

The real benefit of retail robots will be the ability to collect more granular data about products on shelves and customer buying patterns, which will improve inventory management efficiency and accuracy.

The key is to use retail robots as data collectors within an internet-of-things, which is best described as a complex network of connected devices, objects, and sensors that collect large amounts of data and analyze it in the cloud or on the edge.

IoT promises to change how we live, work, conduct business, and purchase the goods and services we want and need when combined with advanced AI and machine learning capabilities.

A free-roaming robot could be the key to it all, transporting data from the consumer touchpoint in the store aisle to the cloud-based data management system.

From six-foot-tall free-moving machines spotting spills in Giant Foods Stores to autonomous shelf-scanners checking inventory in Walmart, robots have made their way into retail.

A "LoweBot" at Lowe's, the home improvement retailer, can answer simple questions like where to find items and assist with inventory management.

These robots relieve workers of routine tasks, allowing humans to spend more time with customers - but that's just the beginning.

Read the original article "What Retail Robots Can Do" at https://hbr.org/2020/10/what-robots-can-do-for-retail