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Is Amazon Go a sign of the downfall of a retail workforce?

April 5, 2017 No Comments

Any time a disruptive technology with industrial or productive applications comes into play, the question arises as to whether or not that technology will result in the loss of jobs. This issue has been tackled extensively in the manufacturing sector, but what about retail? Are robots and IoT technologies putting our retail workforce at risk?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted a 7% growth in the retail workforce over a period of ten years, ending in 2024. This is a positive sign for the 4.8 million retail workers in the United States. However, what impact will technologies like those that drive the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and robotics have on the industry is harder to predict.

For one, these technologies are being developed at a breakneck pace. In the past year, drones and other automated delivery methods have promised to give online retailers an edge in both speed and reach of delivery. This adds pressure on brick-and-mortar retailers to not only make their stores more appealing to a modern customer base but to find ways to increase efficiency to remain competitive.

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