Chains are understanding that the solution can contribute in a critical way in the relationship with the customer
After Amazon reinvented the retail model (Amazon Go link), many companies are investing in technology to deliver more convenience to the customer. This time, the innovation is coming from Paris, in France, where the Franprix chain wants to intensify the dispute over the delivery market with the giant controlled by Jeff Bezos.
The novelty are robots carrying groceries through the street of a Parisian neighborhood during a one-year testing period. The initiative’s goal is to dispute the area where Amazon already operates with an express delivery service since 2016. In order to facilitate the customer’s routine, the service will be free of charge for the city’s residents as a way to build a relationship with local customers.
The project will count with three different robots in the same store and, depending on the results; it will be reproduced in other stores of the chain. In order to develop the robots, Franprix has started a partnership with TwinswHeel, also a French company. It created the two-wheeled electric vehicle, with the capacity of carrying 30 to 40 liters and autonomy to run 25km.
Robots made in Brazil
At first, they will be running tests in Franprix stores, and it will have the function of carrying the groceries for the customers, especially those with impaired mobility and the elderly. For that, one needs to press the “Follow me” button on the robot, and it will follow the customer through visual recognition.
However, not only in Europe the robots are already part of a supermarket’s staff. In Brazil, the XRobô project, created by a startup with the same name, appeared in 2018, to attend to the new demands using Artificial Intelligence.
XRobô’s prototype has a friendly look and can help the customer with information, answering doubts, locating items in the store, comparing prices and even in products demonstrations. In order to have greater customer appeal, the robots have human traits, moving arms, cameras with facial recognition, touch, and presence and movement sensors, and capacity of interpreting voice and speech.
André Araújo is the engineer responsible for the XRobô project (photo: Moneytimes).