From Packing to Customer Service: Robots Are Transforming Ecommerce

It seems robots and automated systems are being integrated into additional aspects of our lives every day. The ecommerce space is certainly not exempt from this trend. If anything, robots will play a disproportionately large part in the future of ecommerce compared to other industries. From packing to customer service, here are a few of the ways robots are transforming ecommerce.

Warehouse Automation Online retailer Amazon began using robots in its warehouses way back in 2011, and has been increasing its robot workforce ever since. Allowing robots to perform tasks such as moving inventory, picking small items and packaging has helped create a more efficient warehouse workflow for the ecommerce giant. While warehouses have yet to reach complete automation, and are still years away from reaching that point, it seems to be the end goal of Amazon’s logistics empire. The obvious benefit to this from a business perspective is robots, if well-designed, can perform the same tasks as humans around the clock—without needing breaks. The automation of warehouses will be a benefit to Amazon, as well as consumers and small businesses working with the company as they will likely spend less for the same services.

Another benefit to future warehouse automation is often overlooked. In addition to big warehouse players like Amazon, micro ecommerce fulfillment centers will receive a huge boost from this technology as well. Currently, Amazon’s massive scale allows it to be the clear top dog in ecommerce shipping and fulfillment services. However, once robots become less expensive to own and operate, smaller players will be able to compete, and gain some of that market share. The proliferation of robots in the warehouse may well bring about a renaissance of sorts in the ecommerce logistics industry.

Robots Will Revolutionize Shipping

In December of 2016, Amazon completed its first autonomous air delivery. The company is banking on drone and driverless technologies to be the future of its shipping services—potentially allowing for delivery times as short as 30 minutes. Drone delivery, even though it currently sounds too farfetched to be achievable in the near future, will likely be the next groundbreaking technological shift in ecommerce shipping.

Imagine being able to sell beauty products from home, and offering affordable, or even free, next- or same-day shipping to your customers. It’s really not out of the question with the advent of autonomous delivery right around the corner. Once the technology advances sufficiently, there could be an international drone delivery network—allowing small business owners to get their products to customers anywhere in the world in less than 24 hours.

Robots Don’t Provide Poor Customer Service

We’ve all had to roll the dice of calling in for customer service at least once in our lives. Sometimes you’ll get someone who’s cheery and helpful; sometimes you’ll be left on hold for two hours. By automating customer services, however, negative experiences will become a thing of the past. Automated customer service programs can simultaneously help a nearly unlimited number of customers—increasing efficiency on all ends—plus, you’re freed of the worry of people misinterpreting their tone. Further, robots always have good days, which means they will be reliably pleasant to customers. These aspects of customer service bots will be extremely helpful to anyone working in the ecommerce space.

The robot revolution makes it clear that the world is rapidly changing. From packing to customer service, robots are transforming ecommerce.

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