How has information technology impacted the use of robots in your local stores?

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Topic: How has information technology impacted the use of robots in your local stores?

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The Impact of IT on the use of Robots

The Impact of IT on the use of Robots


Years ago, the use of robots in retail stores was unheard of and unimaginable. Over the last decade, however, robots have slowly become part of the business and organizational operation, finding their way to almost every retail store in the country. Robots have been around in retail for a while now and many people have been advocating for increased integration of technology powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning in the transformation of how retail business is conducted. Large companies such as Amazon use robots to assist in inventory management and to handle online orders and customer queries. Today, ordering coffee or a meal using a self-serve computer screen rather than speaking with a human attendant is almost the norm, showing just how the workplace and retail experience has become automated. In this paper, the use of robots in local stores and the impact of information technology on the use of robots are discussed. The various benefits and challenges associated with the use of robots will also be highlighted.

IT and the Use of Robots in Local Stores

Companies and retailers are looking for new and innovative ways to cut down costs and streamline store operations. This means that stores are looking for ways through which they can improve service delivery while minimizing operational costs. Today, robots are not only used in warehouses and stores for inventory management but also for interaction with customers. Latest technology robots are equipped with machine vision algorithms and information technology, making them capable of capturing and analyzing data, images, and video, and respond accordingly. The challenge lies in determining whether information technology has a positive impact on the use of robots for organizations and customers.

Research Findings

The workplace in retail stores is more automated today than it ever has been. The automation has become the way of life for stores to a point where some stores are taking some actions to make sure that the retail process does not feel robotic for customers. At Starbucks, two-way video screens have been installed and continue being improved to allow customers and the baristas to see each other and interact better when orders are being placed (Petro, 2020). This enables more human interaction as opposed to customers interacting with a one-way video screen when placing orders. Starbucks stores also provide mobile order and pay program, allowing customers to make orders through a smartphone app and swoop in to collect their order without having to wait in line. This program is run by automated robots with the help of information technology. At Walmart stores, information technology empowers scanner robots to pinpoint locations where items are out-of-stock, take images of items and send them to associates using handheld devices, and transmit data and information to unloader robots (Vincent, 2017).

Unloader robots are used at Walmart to prioritize which items will get unloaded off trucks, depending on the “out of stock” information transmitted by scanner robots. Kroger, America’s largest supermarket by revenue, has a plan to set up at least 20 automated grocery warehouses across the country where robots powered by IT and AI will help in the fulfillment of orders that are placed online (Petro, 2020). Also, the company has been testing driverless robot delivery cars to assist in faster online purchases delivery across the country. Retail companies such as Stop & Shop and Giant Food Stores use pillar-shaped robots who travel the aisles of their stores looking for spills and running price checks and communicate with attendants via information technology (Petro, 2020). Some stores and organizations are using large robotic baristas to serve people with coffee, easing the work for employees (Limbu et al., 2009).

It is no secret that cybersecurity and robotics go hand-in-hand. Computer systems are the brains that power robots. The ever-increasing threat of cybersecurity means that there is an increasing demand for more specialized and secure robots for use in organizations. Without proper IT systems, the use of robots in local stores would not be efficient or secure. Cyber hacks could result in unauthorized access to company information such as stocks, customer data, and company financials. IT personnel are involved in ensuring that cybersecurity is ensured in robotics engineering. It is through IT systems that invasion of privacy in local stores using robots is avoided. As robots continue taking over industries such as retail and manufacturing, the demand for more experienced cybersecurity personnel is bound to increase to guarantee safe use of robots.

Proposed Ideas

A majority of local stores are using robots integrated with AI and IT systems to take over the mundane jobs and tasks, leaving the human employees free to do the more high-value tasks like customer service (Bogue, 2019). Rather than spending their time finding items on store shelves and cleaning up spills, employees are left to interact with customers to teach them about products, while the robots handle mundane tasks. Information technology is enabling robots used in stores to analyze and interpret information on untidy or unclean store areas and clean them, capture photos of new stock, analyze items in boxes, move items to the right places and shelves, understand and communicate with customers, and provide the necessary services to customers.


The use of robots in store operations is becoming more common as technological advancement progresses across the world. Robots improve store operations, especially in warehousing and retail outlets, ensuring quicker customer service, inventory management (Bogue, 2019), and mundane tasks such as verifying prices and cleaning dirty store areas. Information technology helps robots capture, interpret, and transmit information. IT integration with robot technology ensures that robots operate seamlessly, improving operational efficiency.


Bogue, R. (2019). Strong prospects for robots in retail. Industrial Robot: the international journal of robotics research and application.

Limbu, D. K., Tan, Y. K., Wong, C. Y., Jiang, R., Wu, H., Li, L., … & Li, H. (2009, August). Experiences with a barista robot, FusionBot. In FIRA RoboWorld Congress (pp. 140-151). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

Petro, G. (2020, January 10). Robots Take Retail.

Vincent, J. (2017). Walmart is using shelf-scanning robots to audit its stores. The Verge.

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