iPepper, your sales person

Customers stepping into the Pepper-Packed Mobile Shop in Tokyo will find it hard to tell the sales assistants apart, for they are exact clones.

The sales team is made up of Pepper humanoid robots.

And they are selling mobile phones for telecoms giant SoftBank, which opened the store on Thursday.

Ten Pepper robots greet shoppers, demonstrate how to use the mobile phones and help customers make purchases. Just do not complain about the stiff smiles and the lack of human touch.

SoftBank claimed the store is the first to use only humanoid robots to interact with customers, reported The Wall Street Journal.

A spokesman said: "There will be a couple of human staff members behind doors to confirm details and to operate the terminals, but customers will be able to purchase a mobile phone without coming into contact with them.

"Pepper will handle everything."

Billed as the world's first robot capable of understanding human emotions, Pepper first went on sale in Japan last June .

It can analyse gestures and voice tones using its cloud-based artificial intelligence system.

The one-of-its-kind store will be open until Wednesday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 26, 2016, with the headline 'iPepper, your sales person'. Print Edition | Subscribe