Why Retail Businesses Should Hire Humans, Not Robots
Scott Galloway, professor of marketing at NYU Stern School of Business and the author of “The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google” says that employing a huge fleet of robots does not always benefit a business’ bottom line. Human employees offer an advantage for retail businesses even during a time when tech companies are increasingly pushing robots as replacements. Following is a transcript of the video.
Scott Galloway: To give you a sense of just how powerful Amazon is, when Amazon opened one store, Amazon Go — whose key feature was that it used artificial intelligence to get rid of cashiers.
Effectively, you heard this giant scream across the US labor force where of the 11 million cashiers in the US — that’s more than primary teachers in terms of actual numbers — about 3 of those 11 million probably lost their job. They just don’t know it yet.
And in every retail boardroom, we’re talking about store optimization which is Latin for “fire people.” I believe however the opportunity in retail is to invest in not artificial intelligence but organic intelligence.
People no longer go to stores for products. So the winners in retail, The Home Deports, the Best Buys, the Sephoras are investing in their “Blue Shirts,” their “Golden Aprons,” and their “Cast.”
Because if you are going into a store, you want someone there. You want the most impressive supercomputer in the history of the world. And that is an individual who is well-trained.
So while tech is zigging, there’s an opportunity for retail to zag. Starbucks is the original gangster here, spending more money on benefits than they do on coffee.
When you go into a Starbucks you feel better about the experience because the person behind the counter, the barista, actually seems to be enjoying their job, or feel as if they are getting paid well and learning something.
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