How Autonomous Cleaning Robots Can Help Retailers During A Crisis

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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  • T7AMR from Tennant Company. Powered by BrainOS.
    T7AMR from Tennant Company. Powered by BrainOS.
  • Roboscrub 20 from Minuteman International. Powered by BrainOS.
    Roboscrub 20 from Minuteman International. Powered by BrainOS.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased traffic at major European retailers, with store personnel playing an essential role in ensuring that shelves are well-stocked, strict hygiene levels are maintained, and social distancing guidelines are observed.

    This, inevitably, has taken its toll on workers, with some chains announcing reduced hours in order to give exhausted employees a break, as well as to deep clean and sanitise the aisles.

    For example, last week, French retail giant Carrefour announced it would be reducing the opening times of its hypermarkets, as well as closing on selected Sundays, 'in order to relieve the teams that have been on the front line since the start of the crisis', the retailer said.

    Elsewhere, Spanish market leader Mercadona has implemented a strict 9am to 7pm opening schedule across its network, while a number of retailers have introduced select hours for elderly or infirm shoppers, in order to maintain stock levels for needy customers.

    Optimise Efficiency

    With retail operations under pressure, how can executives seek to optimise cleaning efficiency, both now and over the long haul? One answer lies in the use of robotic floor scrubbers, which are proving a popular option for retailers looking to marry efficiency with reliable results.


    Brain Corp, a leading supplier of robotics technology, currently powers the world’s largest fleet of robotic floor care solutions. These autonomous scrubbers are manufactured by leading equipment providers and powered by Brain Corp’s cloud-connected operating system BrainOS, which enables them to operate safely alongside human counterparts.

    These machines, which require no custom infrastructure setup or specialised training, augment human activity in a number of critical ways, especially during high-traffic periods.

    A Crucial Role

    Robotic floor scrubbers can play a crucial role for retailers during a crisis, and beyond, due to a number of important factors.

    Firstly, they can offer improved cleaning efficiency, retracing a series of exact routes, and engaging in thorough, deliberate cleaning regimes at a time when it best suits a particular retailer, such as late at night. This enables in-store personnel to free up several hours per day at each location, which can in turn be used for deep cleaning, shelf restocking and other key assignments.


    Secondly, autonomous floor care machines can send verifiable operational data into the cloud, delivering insights that can be accessed and distributed through customised dashboards and email reporting – providing retailers with full visibility on a particular cleaning regime.

    Thirdly, robotic scrubbers can assist with potential labour shortages – as is the case with the current coronavirus epidemic – as well as help relieve exhausted workers, or those who cannot work due to illness, keeping them fresher for the 'long haul'.

    Brain Corp’s fleet of BrainOS-powered cleaning robots are currently providing more than 8,000 hours of daily work – equal to 250,000 hours per month – that would otherwise have to be done by an essential worker or professional cleaner.

    Lastly, autonomous robots offer a myriad of additional possibilities for retailers seeking to optimise store processes beyond cleaning, such as the labour-intensive task of hauling heavy pallets back and forth. In addition, robotic shelf-scanners can automate the process of finding out what’s missing, out of place, or out of compliance.


    Cleaning robots ensure verifiable, consistent cleaning at a time when customer and employee safety has never been more important. The power of automation is providing a strong support mechanism for those currently working on the front lines.

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