How do they use robots in the fashion industry?
The fashion industry is a pioneer in so many fields, none more so than how it uses robotics and automation, and artificial intelligence (AI).
If we take robotics and automation first, then most of the activity is centered around logistics and how the clothes are handled in the warehouse. It's here where robots are making such a huge difference. Human labour is one of the big issues for operators of warehouses, especially those operating within the ecommerce fashion space. It's not uncommon for there to be a 100% turnover in staff over a two-month period. The job is often stressful, physically tough and repetitive in nature.
By using autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), many of the human labour issues can be solved. What’s more, agile AMRs do away with the need of expensive and static automation storage and retrieval systems.
In-store robots are also playing an increasingly important part of the front-of-house, customer experience. Robots can not only help customers find the items of clothing they want (and highlight options), but they can be used to take payments and handle stock control. They are versatile and flexible, and will greatly add to the shopping experience over the coming decades.
AI comes into its own within this industry as retailers turn to what they call sentiment analysis. This is a very clever way of collecting indirect customer feedback. AI picks up, for example, what is trending on social media about a particular fashion, or indeed, a particular garment being worn by a celebrity. This raw intelligence allows a retailer to ensure, for example, that the particular item trending is in plentiful supply, or can be rapidly re-ordered, for when the expected orders arrive.
Chatbots are another way that AI gives the fashion industry an edge, as it allows the fashion retailer to tailor (sorry for the pun) its dialogue and engagement with particular customers, giving what the latter feels is a unique service.
And the use of robotics and automation, and AI, will dramatically increase over the coming decades.