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Bullet Points & Robot Booksellers--A Collage

  • "Late night shoppers looking with a need to buy books will have their very specific conditions met in Beijing as 20 new staffless bookstores that will operate 24 hours a day are expected to open throughout the city this year.... Like other staffless stores, the 'Xinhua Lifestyle Store' requires all customers to register their real names using their WeChat accounts and have their faces scanned before entering. And because the store has access to all their users' purchasing information, it can offer 'precise and humanized' book suggestions to all of its customers."
  • "The 10,000 square foot store on M Street Northwest, which opened March 13, is a bookstore the way Walgreens is a pharmacy: Sure, you can get drugs there, but the real draw is everything else. At Amazon Books, that everything else could be a juicer, an espresso machine, a Vitamix or one of a slew of voice-controlled Echo gadgets. Retail consultants might call the merchandise mix unfocused. Mariana Garavaglia, Amazon's head of store management and operations, calls it 'holistic.' "
  • "[W]e shouldn't only be asking ourselves, 'Can we build it?' But we should also be asking ourselves, 'What idea of the human do we want to have reflected back to us?' "
  • "Boston will win Amazon's second headquarters, according to an artificial intelligence system developed by Wells Fargo Securities. The bank's stock-picking robot, called Aiera, thinks the city is the likely choice to host HQ2."
  • "Amazon plans to open its first Missouri fulfillment center, in St. Peters, near St. Louis; the center will employ more than 1,500 people who will have 'opportunities to engage with Amazon Robotics in a highly technological workplace,' the company said."
  • "Imagine robots working for a few years as bookstore clerks until they finish their novels and become robot authors."
  • "Fabio, the Pepper robot, who was deployed as a retail assistant at the upmarket store Margiotta in Edinburgh, Scotland, was let go after only a week at the job after it was found that the robot was confusing the patrons, who preferred assistance from its human colleagues."
  • "The key to integrating these technologies successfully is to break down each role's workflow and look for automation opportunities. Jobs that have elements of retrieving information, scheduling, and calculating numbers lend themselves to being enhanced by automation. By taking those tasks out of the workday, employees can spend more time on activities that are harder to automate, such as interacting with people..."
  • "In retail and, specifically, the supply chain, we're seeing a lot of automation, and I can envisage some of the job titles will have 'hologram' in them. Head of hologram services, or anything to do with robotics."
  • "The bookshop of the future, therefore, needs to be an experiential hub for all things literary. It needs to be a place where writers can talk with and meet their readers. It needs to be a physically engaging place in which readers can drink tea or eat while browsing.... Curation is key.... Trust, an increasingly scarce resource in today's world, is essential. Trust trumps price. It's the essential commodity for the book retailer of the future."
  • "[T]he problem of automation isn't automation, but as ever, it's us."

--Published by Shelf Awareness, issue #3206

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