Domo Arigato, Lowe’s, for Using Robots
It’s not April Fool’s Day!
Just before the holidays, Lowe's really is introducing two robotic shopping assistants at one of its Orchard Supply Hardware stores in San Jose, Calif.
According to a press release from the home improvement retailer, the autonomous robots — called OSHbots — were developed by Fellow Robots, a technology company that specializes in the design and development of autonomous service robots, in partnership with Lowe's own Innovation Labs.
OSHbots will answer questions from shoppers and help them navigate stores by directing them to specific products and providing real-time information about product promotions and inventory. Shoppers will also be able to use the OSHbot's 3-D camera to scan an item brought from home (e.g., a nail) to see where it can be found in-store or online.
In the coming months, OSHbots will communicate with shoppers in multiple languages and remotely connect with expert employees at other Orchard Supply stores to answer specific project questions.
“Using science fiction prototyping, we explored solutions to improve customer experiences by helping customers quickly find the products and information they came in looking for,” said Kyle Nel, executive director of Lowe’s Innovation Labs, in the company press release. “As a result, we developed autonomous retail service robot technology to be an intuitive tool customers can use to ask for help, in their preferred language, and expect a consistent experience.”
Lowe's said the OSHbots will provide an additional layer of support to salespeople by helping customers with simple questions, enabling more time for sales associates to focus on delivering project expertise.
"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," said Nel in an Advertising Age article. "We can let the robots answer questions like, ‘Where are the hammers?’"