Robotic technology is changing the retail industry. With robots, retailers of all sizes can automate and streamline operations more easily and effectively than ever before.
In this competitive retail landscape, it is increasingly important for retailers to adopt technologies such as robotics to keep up with the industry and run a successful business.
Robotics applications in retail are wide-ranging, from packaging and palletizing to stacking and sorting on shelves. The retail industry has traditionally not been as quick to adopt robots as, say, the auto industry. However, more and more companies are now seeing the value of adding robots to those tasks to help them keep growing.
Let’s see how retail robots help companies like yours adapt and what kind of applications might work for retail.
How robotics helps retail companies keep up with change
Robotic technology is becoming increasingly important in retail, especially in recent years when the industry has changed so much.
Retailers are looking for ways to keep up with changing customer demands, regulations, and supply chain disruptions. Robotics offers a variety of solutions to help meet this demand in an accessible and affordable way.
Modern retail customers now expect a faster and more personalized shopping experience. Robots can help achieve this by streamlining processes, increasing throughput and facilitating more customization.
The most established application areas for robots are in manufacturing and logistics. However, in recent years, we’ve started to see robotic technology being used in physical retail stores as well. From state-of-the-art shelf scanners to customer service robots, it’s clear that robots are here to survive in the retail industry.
7 attractive and effective applications for robotics in retail
There are many ways to implement robots in your retail company. Some applications, such as palletizing, are more established and robust. Other applications, such as in-store robots, are still in the experimental or trial stages.
Here are 7 attractive and effective applications, and the benefits they can provide for your retail business:
1. Palletizing robot
Palletization robot is now an established technology in many retail establishments, typically used for logistics and shipping. Robots independently load shipping pallets for delivery.
The great benefit of palletizing robots is that they take this onerous task out of the hands of human workers. At the same time, they reduce injuries, improve palletizing consistency, and speed up the shipping process.
2. Inventory management robotics
Robots are also now being used to scan shelves, load items, and manage warehouses. This leads to more accurate inventory counts and better stock management.
Product scanning and tracking tasks can also be combined into other robotic tasks, such as during packaging or palletizing.
3. Product packaging robots
Robots are also a vital tool for primary and secondary packaging tasks, such as individually wrapping products or placing them in boxes.
By adding robots at this stage, you can speed up packaging and create a more consistent process, resulting in faster delivery times and better customer satisfaction.
4. Robotics delivery
Robots are also starting to be used for product delivery. This can be done both internally — such as shipping products from one area of a warehouse to another — and externally to deliver products to customers.
It appears that delivery robots will be one of the main growth areas in retail robotics in the coming years, especially remote delivery.
5. In-store robotics
One area that is still relatively experimental today is in-store robots. This can include stock management robots and even customer service robots.
An example of an in-store robot in action is that robot Lowe’s retailer installed to help customers find items in a store. At the same time, the robot also performs real-time inventory tracking.
6. Automated rack storage robotics
In warehousing, robots can also automate the racking process. This reduces the workload on human workers along with potential injuries from lifting heavy objects.
Companies, such as Amazon, have moved almost entirely to robotic warehousing. This allows them to accurately control stock and optimize warehousing processes through artificial intelligence.
7. Automatic picking robotics
Finally, robots can automate the process of selecting products and picking them up for shipment. This can help reduce errors associated with manual fetching.
Another form of automated picking is when robots combine with quality sensors to automatically remove defective products from production lines.
A spotlight on palletizing robotics for retailers
Which robotic app is the easiest to use and has the easiest return on investment? Palletizing appears to be a clear winner for many businesses. With ready-made application kits, such as Robotiq Palletization SolutionsYou can quickly and easily add palletizing automation to your facility.
Robotic palletizing helps streamline shipping and product handling. This allows you to make better use of human labor and reduces the risk of product damage that is common with manual palletizing.
The right robotic solution will give you great flexibility for different palletizing tasks and configurations. And you can also add additional tasks to your robotics implementation, such as sorting and counting boxes.
If you are looking for a single application that will provide you with clear benefits quicklyrobot palletization is a good candidate.
Is now the right time for you to use robots in retail?
Companies across the retail industry are now using robots to help increase their productivity and competitiveness.
Should you consider adding robots to your operation? It depends on your current needs and goals. However, it’s safe to say that the robot isn’t going anywhere. It makes sense to consider it now or you risk missing out on the huge potential benefits.
A good place to start is to look at specific applications, such as creating pallets, and see if they are a good fit for your retail business.
Which robotic application looks the most promising for your retail business right now? Let us know in the comments below or join the discussion at LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebookor the DoF professional robotics community.