Robots in the Store? No, Thanks.

Most shoppers say no to automated sales assistants in stores

Author: Maria Minsker

June 21, 2017

Despite industry buzz around robotics for retail, many consumers aren’t particularly keen on the idea of interacting with robots while shopping. More than half say they’d rather stick with humans.

More than half say they’d rather stick with humans, according to data from the June 2017 UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper study.

Retail robotics were among the top trends that emerged at the National Retail Federation’s Big Show earlier this year, with robots being developed for both warehouse tasks and front-of-store activities. But even if retailers are ready to experiment, the UPS study suggests consumers might not be.

The reason?

Forty-one percent of shoppers said they would not like interacting with robots because they’re too cold and impersonal. It just goes to show that even though consumers are used to automated experiences when they shop through digital channels, they still expect the warmth of human engagement when they step into a physical store.

Plus, when asked about some of the most important aspects of in-store interactions, 57% of those polled in the UPS study cited sales associates’ “willingness to go the extra mile.” The verdict is still out on whether or not a robot could meet this expectation.