The United Kingdom’s first robotic shop assistant was dumped after just one week for being too confusing to customers. The Scotland-based grocery store chain Margiotta tested the ‘ShopBot’ called Fabio.
Fabio’s makers had instructed it with thousands of pieces of info on hundreds of items and to say “hello gorgeous” to nearby customers. He also offered free hugs, jokes, and high fives.
Elena Margiotta, who runs the store, thought having Fabio on board would show customers the company is open to new technologies. However, after a couple of days, the cyborg had to be demoted after telling customers that they could find a specific brand of beer in the “alcohol section” of the store.
Robotic Shop Assistant Making Customers Uncomfortable
It also had slow reaction times to customers’ demands due to background noise in the store. After a couple of days, the robot was placed in an aisle where it offered free samples of pulled pork. However, many customers reported that the robot scared them.
Humans were able to convince 12 shoppers to try the samples every 15 minutes. The robot was able to lure in just two customers. The store’s management realized that the robot was putting off customers.
Unfortunately Fabio didn’t perform as well as we had hoped. People seemed to be actually avoiding him,
said a company representative.
Fabio’s conversations with customers were not great either, while its movements were severely limited. It has also failed to move to specific areas of the store and direct shoppers to the products they solicited.
One more problem was that he gave general info like the cheese is located in the fridges. Nevertheless, when the store’s owner told the bot that they were sacking him, it asked “are you angry?” One of the employees even started crying when the bot was packed and returned.
Image Source: Mirror.co.uk