Coffee giant Nescafe has employed a fleet of chirpy robots to sell its Nescafe Dolce and Nescafe Gold Blend Barista coffee machines in Japanese stores as part of its ongoing effort to promote the products in Nescafe’s biggest market.
Japanese telecom giant Softbank had launched the humanoid robot – Pepper back in June, touting the chatting android for its ability to read customers’ facial expressions and listen to their voice to analyse how they’re feeling.
The Hollywood heart-throb- George Clooney, who is the global face of the Swiss giant’s Nespresso brand, has been given the elbow in favour of Pepper. Thankfully, the Peppers won’t be serving coffee themselves; instead they try to charm customers. Kohzoh Takaoka, president and CEO of Nestle Japan, claims that it will be able to talk to customers about Nescafe products and services and aid them in selecting the one that best caters to their needs.
The 120-centimetre (four-foot) tall robot has a smiling human face with a white plastic body, rollers and an interactive tablet computer on its chest. By simply answering Pepper’s questions, it can tell which coffee machine is perfect for you. The Robot was exhibited at Bic Camera’s Yurakucho shop in Tokyo. The Pepper robot can also play games with and quiz the younger children who are in the vicinity, while their parents are focusing at the coffee machines.
Pepper robots have already taken up their jobs at four different home appliances stores in the capital on Monday. Nestle is planning to hire around 1,000 Pepper robots to assist its customers nationwide.
This is not Pepper’s first job- Softbank has already placed Peppers to sell mobile phones at its 74 Japanese stores, where it has proved an immediate hit in collecting customers’ opinions. Softbank’s Vice President, Kenichi Yoshida, said that Pepper robots are set to go on sale in February 2015 with a price tag of 198,000 yen excluding monthly fees. It would have also been a pretty neat trick if the Pepper robot was able to offer a sample to passers-by.