Would You Buy Your Next Coffee Machine From a Robot?

Oct 30, 2014 at 11:22 AM ET

Starting in December, Japanese home appliance stores will have a new sales associate: Pepper, a friendly 61-pound, 4-foot-tall robot. Its job: hawking Nescafé coffee machines.

Japan is famous for its creepily human robots, but Pepper is particularly humanoid. It can pick up on facial expressions and even interpret emotion from the sound of a person’s voice. And now it has been programmed to answer all your questions about which coffeemaker you should buy: the Nescafé Dolce Gusto or Nescafé Gold Blend Barista.

Nescafé sees Pepper as both a friendly store helper and a branding opportunity. It will be “working” in 20 home appliance stores by December, and will be rolled out to about 1,000 stores by the end of next year.