Shoppers at Lakeside will be able to find what they’re looking for with the introduction of the Bo Shopping Centre Robot.

Bo has been designed to help shoppers get around the shopping centre, ask for their feedback about their shopping experience and it’ll also tell customers about the latest special offers available in Lakeside’s range of shops.

“Robots in retail are still very much a novelty, especially when supporting shoppers with practical tasks such as helping them to find what they are looking for or to take advantage of the latest promotions,” Andrei Danescu, Bo maker BotsAndUs CEO, said. “We are extremely excited to work with intu and bring Bo to a British shopping centre in a European premiere.”

Bo is just one of the robots being used by intu Lakeside, which is working with seven start-up businesses to improve the shopping experience over the Christmas period and beyond. Intu Accelerate also comprises a personal shopping experience provided by GoInStore, where visitors can buy products as they watch video live-streamed from the shopping centre.

Live-chat facility TokyWoky is another innovation being tested at the Essex venue. Visitors to the company’s website can see what the shopping centre is like at any time via feedback from people already there. For example, if the car park is full, if there are long queues at the eatery and more.

“Retail has always been an inventive industry and the UK has remained at the forefront of this,” David Fischel, intu chief executive, said. “We’ve launched intu Accelerate to drive forward innovative technology that will entertain and engage shoppers and help businesses to flourish.

“It’s giving talented new businesses like BotsandUs, GoInStore and TokyWoky the opportunity to trial their ideas within live environments and test their potential to shape the future of retail.”