You wouldn’t be crazy to worry about robots coming for American jobs.
A 2017 report by investment advisory firm Cornerstone Capital Group found that about 6 million to 7.5 million retail jobs will be rendered obsolete by automation in the coming years, Business Insider’s Hayley Peterson reported. Cashiers in particular have a 97% chance of being replaced by robots, Business Insider’s Kate Taylor reported.
Certain companies have better prepared for the impending robot takeover than others. Starbucks is one of them.
Scott Galloway calls Starbucks the “original gangster” in the fight against automation. Galloway is a clinical professor of marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business, the founder of the digital intelligence firm L2, and the author of the new book, “The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.”
Galloway visited the Business Insider in October. He said that because Starbucks is known for spending more money on employee benefits than it does on coffee, “When you go into Starbucks, you feel better about the experience because the person behind the counter – the barista – actually seems to be enjoying their job or feel as if they’re getting paid well and learning something.”
The lesson here, he said, is that “the opportunity in retail is to invest not in artificial intelligence, but organic intelligence. People no longer go to stores for products; they go for people.”
Galloway’s insights recall those of Shon Burton, the CEO of HiringSolved, who told Business Insider’s Abby Jackson: “Everything a coffee shop does could’ve been automated 30 years ago. So why isn’t it? Well, that’s because we don’t want to buy our coffee from a robot. We want to buy our coffee from a hipster in the flannel print shirt with piercings, because that’s what makes us feel good.”
Galloway mentioned Home Depot, Best Buy, and Sephora as examples of other retail brands that have wisely invested heavily in training their employees.
He said, “If you’re going into a store, you want someone there. You want the most impressive super-computer in the history of the world, and that’s an individual who is well trained. So while tech is zigging, there’s an opportunity for retail to zag.”