Close
 

Retail automation: So are the robots really coming to take retail jobs?

  • News
  • August 10, 2019
  • Rachel Helyer Donaldson
Retail automation: So are the robots really coming to take retail jobs?

As part of a feature article on how automation will affect retailers, we examined whether the headlines are true - are robots really coming for our jobs?

Last year the AI Forum and MBIE co-funded a report,Shaping A Future New Zealand, to look at the impact of AI in Aotearoa in the coming decades. AI will displace just 10 per cent of jobs over the next 40 years, it concluded. 

By contrast, a 2018 report by Infometrics, From Education to Employment, estimated that the “automation revolution” would account for the loss of 31 per cent of jobs by 2036. 

Reid says the AI Forum’s research correlates how other disruptive technologies have taken decades to make an impact.  

Around half of small businesses in New Zealand have no online presence, he notes, and the internet has been around for 30 years.

Roles re-shape themselves, he adds. “We can expect that the nature of jobs will change... as we see new technology comes into the economy it creates new skills, new opportunities and demand for new skills as well. 

“People need to continue to learn new skills throughout their lives and their employers and the government probably has a responsibility to look at that.” 

Rather than outright job losses, Vredenburg says that it is “more a case of retraining and adaptation. Redeployment of skills from more rote work that can be digitised to technology support and augmentation roles. 

“However, the effect of automation on society as a whole through a potential increase in unemployment rates needs to be considered.”

Context matters, she adds. There are still instances, such as luxury retail, where customers prefer to shop in store rather than online.

For now, she says, “I don’t think it will be a definitive choice between tech and touch. It will be a combination of the two that creates the best customer experience, ideally using the best of what both have to offer. 

“As technology continues to advance, current automation such as self-service checkouts will continue to improve using different technological touchpoints throughout the retail experience. For example, not necessarily having a designated ‘check out area’ but mobile checkouts or checkout points in changerooms.”

Cox agrees. There is a space for fully automated retail stores for convenience but humans still have “an incredibly important role” to make retail a destination event. 

“ You’re not going to have the same rapport with a robot as you would with a human. If you look at the role that a barista plays in a coffee shop, you will go to that cafe to be served by that particular barista because of what they bring to your day. 

“That’s the kind of experience people need to think about, in every level of retail.” 

This story originally appeared in NZ Retail issue 762 June/July 2019

​ ​

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.

 

Human nature: The ethics of selling live animals instore

  • News
  • August 19, 2019
  • Jenny Ling
Human nature: The ethics of selling live animals instore

As part of our deep-dive into the pet category, we looked at the rules around selling live animals in-store. Some retailers are putting more stringent rules in place - what should you do?

Read more
 
 
News

The organic knitwear line created to save high street retail

Unlike many apparel products, From organic merino wasn’t made as a reflection of an abstract artistic concept. Instead, designer Yvonna van Hulzen of Widdess was ...

 
 

Gem Retail Hotlist: Adult Toy Megastore balances insights with privacy

  • News
  • August 19, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Gem Retail Hotlist: Adult Toy Megastore balances insights with privacy

Privacy is a key concern of customers across every category, but perhaps none more so than those shopping with retailers like Adult Toy Megastore. Manager Nicola Relph shared more detail about how the online adult product retailer gets the best insights out of its data while respecting customers’ privacy.

Read more
 

Social scoreboard

Zavy and The Register have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

 
topics
Concept to closet
Business coverage of New Zealand Fashion Week.
Regional rollercoaster
What does retail look like in 2019 for ...
Town centres
A positive retail environment over the past 12 ...
Amazon Arrival
Keeping up with all things Amazon as it ...
The Retail Yearbook 2017
As we battle our way through the busiest ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
Sisterhood
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...
 
News

Human nature: How treating pets as people is driving a retail boom

Demographic changes have shifted the way New Zealanders treat their companion animals. Kiwi shoppers increasingly want to treat their fur babies to a human-like level ...

 
 
News

Here comes the girl gang: Paris Georgia to open New Zealand Fashion Week 2019

Many players in the fashion industry are currently engaged in rewiring their processes to match changing customer expectations around speed and access, but Paris Georgia ...

 

Mergers: Making it work

  • News
  • August 17, 2019
  • Jai Breitnauer
Mergers: Making it work

We took an in-depth look at recent retail mergers. Jai Breitnauer compiled all the advice from the feature into this handy guide on how to get one right.

Read more
 
Next page
Results for
Topics
Jobs
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

Advertise
The Register

editor@theregister.co.nz

Content marketing/advertising? Email anita.hayhoe@icg.co.nz or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit

}