Technology has changed so many areas of modern life. Until recently, though, one thing it hadn’t done much to change was the repetitive, yet necessary tasks that retail workers do every day. However, as technology improves and becomes more personal and accurate, technology now has a place in completing many of these tasks. To provide a fuller picture, here are four ways that technology is cutting down on menial tasks in retail.
One of the most labor-intensive tasks in the retail industry is unloading the trucks that bring goods to stores. Given the different sizes and shapes of boxes that have to be unloaded, this has always been an entirely manual task. However, new robots equipped with cameras and electronic “fingers” are now able to complete this task just as effectively, without getting tired. Most important is that there is now no risk of an unloader being crushed by a falling wall of boxes that were improperly stacked.
The cashier’s job of scanning barcodes on the items you want to purchase is perhaps one of the most repetitive tasks of any career. With the rise of the digital price tag, though, this task is becoming less necessary. Digital price tags are embedded in the boxes and bags of the items you buy, just like barcodes. Unlike barcodes, though, these digital tags can be read by a machine without needing to be scanned individually. This means no more long lines at the checkout and no more having to load and unload your cart.
More Accurate Directions
If you’ve ever been frustrated because you couldn’t find something in a store, you know how valuable the employees at that store can be. Still, the directions some employees give sometimes leave much to be desired. With smartphone technology, though, you can now easily find the exact location of all your favorite items. Thanks to stores adding virtual maps to their apps, you can find the aisle, section, and shelf of the item you need in less time than it would take you to find an employee.
Stores know they lose money when items they carry are out of stock. That’s why automated inventory systems are so valuable to all types of retail outlets. New technology uses cameras to track when items are removed from a shelf so that the system knows that more inventory needs to be ordered. This all happens without any human involvement, leaving employees with extra time to do other tasks.
For some store employees, the thought of technology taking over many of their daily tasks is intimidating and even scary. However, the good news is that, while it will require an adjustment, automation is nothing to worry about. Rather than completing repetitive tasks day after day, employees can have the freedom to complete tasks that are meaningful and truly help the store to succeed. This creates a better retail environment for everyone involved.