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Our march toward automation in retail has been severely dampened by COVID-19. The economic lockdown meant a massive rethink in how consumers get what they need, which stole attention from many of the novel solutions that were making their way to stores. Consequently, the rate of in-store implementations of (and investment in) new automative technologies has slowed, and it wasn’t just limited store access.
However, in challenge, there’s also opportunity, and today’s trials are no exception. Many of the current and evolving ideas in retail robotics will gain traction and grow based on how they can answer the specific needs imposed by COVID-19. Once the dust settles, retailers will once again be in the position to expedite the rollout of such technologies as robots and fixed cameras in stores, enhance online shopping, and even consider integrating fully frictionless stores.

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