Robots will take jobs formerly done by people, and that will hit the retail space pretty hard.
That does not mean that an army of robotic workers will eliminate the need for humans. Instead, jobs that can be easily automated will be, according to ZipRecruiter’s Chief Economic Adviser Cathy Barrera in an email interview with The Motley Fool. ZipRecruiter, which was launched in 2010, started as a tool to help small businesses distribute job postings affordably. Today, according to the company, it’s a “marketplace where millions of people across the U.S. and U.K. find a better job for a better life.”
Barrera, a Harvard University-trained business economics Ph.D., noted in our exchange that routine tasks which are performed the same way each time will be the first jobs turned over to robots.
“Within retail, cashiers are one of the most susceptible careers at risk of being automated,” she wrote. “This isn’t necessarily news to Americans in the retail industry; consider the amount of self-checkout devices available at Target, CVS, and Costco, to name a few.”
In addition, the rise of mobile ordering and payment pioneered by Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) which has been adopted by many other chains takes work away from human workers. In the coffee company’s case, however, those workers aren’t being replaced — they are being put into filling orders, allowing for faster production lines at its stores.
That makes sense for Starbucks given that limited space behind its counters means it can’t add workers to meet demand. That, however, won’t be the case for every chain, as in many cases robots and automaton will lead to fewer human workers.
“New technologies are being developed that will not only further erode the role of people in this task, but completely upend the way this task is executed,” wrote Barrera. “… Amazon‘s (NASDAQ:AMZN) supermarket in downtown Seattle conducts business without a single human worker, and instead is reliant on its machine learning and AI capable technology service.”
This is not the end for retail workers
In the current marketplace, many retail workers are in greater danger of their company going out of business or closing locations than they are of robots taking their job. A healthy company like Starbucks or Amazon…