The coming wave of automation in retail is a favorite topic of retail futurists, but few can agree on just what the next generation of non-human assisted shopping will look like. As far as SoftBank is concerned, it’s going to look a lot like us.
Reuters reported that SoftBank is set to roll out its humanoid Pepper sales robot to various locations in Taiwan, making this the first time the telecom giant is sending the automated helper outside of Japan. Roughly 100 Pepper units will be installed in retail store fronts, as well as banks and government offices, to help with low-level customer assistance.
Hypermarket chain Carrefour will be one of the retailers testing out Pepper units, and National Marketing Director Marilyn Su said that the company is particularly interested in monitoring how younger consumers react to the technology. Two units will grace Carrefour locations in Taiwan, and Su said that, if things go well during the trial, the firm very well could end up buying several more.
Introducing Pepper on the consumer banking side of things will be branches of First Financial, Taishin Financial and Asia Pacific Telecom.