Robotics

Shopping mall robots are boosting retail

21st September 2020
Lanna Cooper

Cheetah Mobile has successfully deployed more than 7,000 AiM Robots (AiM: Attract, interact and Mindset) in 887 shopping malls across 32 cities in China. The AiM Robots double as an interactive advertising platform and information desk, boosting sales and ushering in the smart retail era for brick-and-mortar shops hammered by COVID-19.

Combining AI, voice technology, full-perception facial recognition, an embedded indoor navigation system and a 27" touch screen, the AiM Robot can talk to customers and help them find discounts, new products and store locations. Using AI technology, the AiM Robot can intelligently recommend the relevant brands, stores, products and coupons to meet customers’ needs.

Additionally, the AiM Robot is capable of customer consultation, parking assistance and other services that are traditionally provided by the information desk. As consumers’ shopping preferences are fast evolving, the AiM Robots are playing an increasingly important role in upgrading shopping malls in the digital age.

Compared with traditional advertising displays, the AiM Robot proactively engages customers and customises each interaction based on their demographic information and previous interaction history using facial recognition technology. This AI-driven approach to interactive marketing can significantly increase brand awareness with targeted audiences, as well as drive sales.

In the Yifang Shopping Centre in Shenzhen, the AiM Robots have increased a daily average of 2.5 orders for each food and beverage shop. Restaurant coupons issued by the AiM Robots are mostly redeemed within half an hour; other snack and drink coupons are also popular among shoppers.

However, the merchants’ goal goes beyond a redeemed coupon. According to their feedback, they’re also trying to retain old customers and attract new ones through word-of-mouth recommendations. Toward this end, the AiM Robot’s large-screen display, personalised greetings and small games can help generate awareness.

As shopping malls reopen in China, physical retailers are faced with new challenges including contactless services. To drive sales and increase brand awareness with minimal human contact, Cheetah Mobile introduced the AiM Robot as a solution.

Through the AiM Robot big data network, Cheetah Mobile can track shopping malls’ mask-wearing ratio and retail recovery rate, as well as monitor different cities’ most popular brands. This offline big data can not only help shopping malls and merchants refine their practice and strategy, but also provide industry associations and research institutions with valuable data.

According to Cheetah Mobile’s AiM Robots deployed in Wuhan, within the first week post lockdown, daily foot traffic in Wuhan’s shopping malls increased by 418% compared to the second half of March, jumping from 1,839 to 9,537 customers per day. The AiM Robots also identified the top 20 activities and products Wuhan consumers wanted after the lockdown based on the inquiries they received: tasty food, bubble tea and clothes occupied the top three positions; last but not least was a haircut.

During the coronavirus outbreak in Beijing, Cheetah Mobile released real-time data in Beijing’s shopping malls. During major holidays, Cheetah Mobile distills first-hand data into consumer behavior insights, such as foot traffic volume, peak hours, customer demographics, top searches and keywords. As of July 2020, Cheetah Mobile’s AiM Robots have reached a daily average of 62.4 million customers, and each customer stays with the AiM Robot for 70 seconds.

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