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Can retailers automate, use smart machines and keep human touch?

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Retailers will have to walk the line between real human interaction, efficiency and cutting costs via automation.

ORLANDO–Retail stores will be reinvented by smart machines, but the big balancing act will revolve around how far management should go to replace human tasks.

That’s the takeaway from a Gartner presentation by analyst Kelsie Martin. At the Gartner Symposium ITxpo on Sunday, Martin urged retail execs and CIOs to ponder the “associate-less store.”

We’ve all seen some variety of the associate-less store via self-checkout kiosks and other technology tools to replace low-margin work and allegedly improve the customer experience. Martin noted that you could make the case that mobile point-of-sale terminals, kiosks and inventory scanners could be replaced by full automation. …

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ZDNet  10/5/2015

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