Nestlé plans to enhance engagement with consumers…with robots

Nestlé Japan will soon be using a robot to sell its coffee machines, as part of what it says is an ongoing effort to enhance brand engagement with consumers. Starting in December, Nescafé will use the humanoid robot Pepper to sell Nescafé coffee machines in home appliance stores in Japan, its biggest market.

“Pepper will be able to explain Nescafé products and services and engage in conversation with consumers. I hope that this new consumer engagement model will expand across the world as an example of Japanese innovation,” said Kohzoh Takaoka, President and CEO of Nestlé Japan, in a statement. According to Nescafé, Pepper is the first robot in the world that is able to read and respond to human emotion. Equipped with the latest voice and emotion recognition technology, Pepper is designed to read people’s facial expressions and listen to their tone of voice to analyse how they’re feeling. SoftBank Robotics, the producer of Pepper, said the robot is part of the company’s ambition to take technology beyond factory floors. “The dream to create an advanced consumer experience with Pepper is now coming true. We hope that by providing people the opportunity to interact with a robot whilst shopping, we can help create experiences of wonder and delight for consumers,” said Masayoshi Son, Chairman and CEO of SoftBank Corporation, in a statement. Pepper will start selling Nescafé machines in around 20 home appliance stores in December. Nestlé is planning to use the robot nationwide in around 1000 stores by the end of 2015.

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