Late next month, customers at Lowe’s-owned Orchard Supply Hardware stores will be assisted by robots, the company has announced.
The “OSHbot” can greet shoppers, converse with them in English and Spanish, bring them to aisles for the products they seek, display specials through images on their "heads", and consult with human Orchard employees that have expertise in home-improvement areas like plumbing.
The robots were developed with the help of retail-robot and technology startup Fellow Robots.
Experts say that as robot technology has matured, it’s now to the point where they function very well in interactions with humans. For big-box stores seeking to lure back the many customers they’ve lost to e-commerce retailers, they could be very helpful — as long as they can truly assist customers, don’t break down too often, and are seen as more than a gimmick or a flash in the pan.