Twelve robots dancing: How Bloomingdale’s Christmas windows are full of robotic magic

Store Christmas windows are a big deal in NY city, where the biggest names vie to have the most spectacular displays. Bloomingdales has come up trumps this year with ‘An Out of This World Holiday’
Bloomingdales in New York
Bloomingdales is one of the biggest retail units in New York. Source: Ajay Suresh via Flickr

An Out of This World Holiday

There are 12 robots that make up the Bloomingdales Christmas display; rather fittingly!

ABB Robotics has supplied a range of ABB IRB 1200s and IRB 120s who carry out a range of tasks and functions.

Shoppers are able to interact with the robots, rather than just watch their performances. The robotic performers within the store window perform a choice of Christmas songs. These are selected by passers-by, who can also ‘join in’ by pressing a button which superimposes their image onto a video screen behind.

There is a RoboScreen Christmas Carol Karaoke window, where the IRB 120’s hold out a screen with the lyrics.

Another window features four robots who build an Autonomous Christmas Tree Decorating display.

Inside the store, four robots mounted on the floor and ceiling pass gold ornaments between each other and lay them on the tree branches. This performance lasts 30-minutes, and the robots strip the tree ready to start again.

Interactive Christmas

That isn’t all! Bloomingdales also have an ABB YuMi Robot who makes and serves Nespresso coffee to tired shoppers.

This sounds amazing; but is it likely to make shoppers spend more? I personally would definitely visit to take a look!

ABB’s Global Head of Service Robotics, Marc Segura, sayswe are excited to be part of such an iconic celebration as shoppers in New York kick off the holiday season. As well as bringing some festive cheer to Bloomingdales’ customers, we are showcasing how robotics and automation technology could help revitalize the retail experience.’

The concept here is all about customer experience. Heading to a store is no longer about just buying a product, but to enjoy the time spent doing so. Stores are increasingly becoming destinations in their own right.

We reported recently on how AI and VR are increasingly used in advertising. From interactive Christmas cups at Starbucks to immersive bus shelters, the world of retail is evolving.

YuMi robot by ABB Robotics
A YuMi robot can prepare and serve Nespresso coffee to shoppers in Bloomingdales. Image: ABB

ABB Robotics

Bloomingdales’ robots are supplied by ABB Robotics, who provide 24-hour monitoring via their HQ in Michigan. This uses ABB Ability™ Connected Services technology.

The monitoring is to review data, and prevent stoppage – there is no concern about festive robots going rogue and running amok through the streets of NYC!

ABB Robotics has created over 400,000 robotic solutions for a range of industries. They supply robots in 53 countries worldwide.

Their vision with the Bloomingdales Christmas robots is toshow how robotics can make visual merchandising more dynamic and engaging. In the future, retailers could use robotics to create innovative mediums to interact with customers, demonstrate products and engage at the point-of-sale with far more appeal and relevance than traditional static point-of-sale displays.’

How long before your retail assistant is replaced by a fully autonomous robot? I’d say probably sooner than you think!

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