delaware’s DEL20 initiative is paving the way for innovation by working closely together with 20 key customers in collaborative sessions. Four ideas that emerged from these sessions have already moved beyond the conceptual phase and are now being tested in the field. One of these pilot projects will be taking place at cosmetics retailer Di, where our robot friend Pepper – together with our partner Zorabotics – is being unleashed in the world of beauty and body-care products.
Say hi to Pepper!
From 20 to 31 October, Pepper will be welcoming shoppers at the Di store in Mons (Grands Pres), Belgium. Once a customer has scanned their loyalty card, Pepper knows who he has standing in front of him and can start to chat with the customer. In fact, Pepper will be particularly curious about why people like to shop at Di and which specific products they are looking for. Customers can answer Pepper’s questions using the tablet on his chest. And while asking his questions, he will try his utmost to respond and interact with the customer in a personalized way based on what he knows and sees.
But Pepper isn’t only there to talk. The data that Pepper collects in store can deliver Distriplus, owner of both Di and Planet Parfum, valuable insights to help the retailer to further improve the shopper experience. So, for Distriplus, this pilot project is a first opportunity to find out how consumers will respond to Pepper. Is Pepper able to attract more customers to Di? Will people buy more after having talked to him? And will he help Di to achieve better customer interaction and boost brand value?
In time, humanoid robots can play a valuable role in retail
A new dimension to customer interaction
We believe that, in time, humanoid robots can play a valuable role in retail – whether to conduct satisfaction surveys, to help people find their way around stores, to make product suggestions, to provide stock information or to give personal advice. They can collect data on the spot, based on behavior they constantly track, and this data can then be processed by machine-learning algorithms to deliver new insights.
The skills of humanoid robots are evolving quickly so, in a not-too-distant future, by combining Pepper’s capabilities with machine learning, Pepper will not only be able to recognize the color of your shirt but will also be able to see whether you’re wearing glasses, make-up and so on. Furthermore, he will be able to respond to facial expressions and tell whether you are happy, sad or angry. And who wouldn’t be instantly charmed by a friendly robot like Pepper?
Preparing for the future
As an early adopter, Distriplus is very eager to get the pilot project underway. “We are very interested in discovering how new technologies can impact customer behavior and increase traffic to our stores. This project is a fun way to demonstrate to our customers how robots can help them while shopping. We are curious to see how our customers will respond and what insights Pepper will provide us. At the same time, we want to investigate the flexibility of Distriplus’ IT architecture when it comes to integrating technologies such as camera counting and new marketing campaign tools,” says Rudy Dodémont, IT Manager at Distriplus.
Author: Barbara De Vos. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.