Simbe Expands Retail Shelf-Scanning Robot Program with Missouri Grocery Chain

Robotics Business Review

Simbe Robotics and Midwest grocery chain Schnuck Markets this week announced they would expand the rollouts of Simbe’s retail autonomous shelf-scanning robot, Tally to at least 15 more Schnucks’ stores.

The two companies began their program in July 2017 at three Schnucks locations, with Tally capturing real-time insights from on-shelf operations. The companies said that as a result of the pilot program’s success, Schnucks is “increasing the scope of the partnership to bring at least 15 Tally robots to key stores, giving the retailer a tech-forward competitive advantage.”

Better data, better inventory

Simbe’s technology provides shelf data and improves how products are organized on stocked on shelves. Tally provides on-shelf intelligence that enables Schnucks to better serve customers by ensuring products are where they are intended to be, and where customers expect them to be. Furthermore, the data captured and analytic reports recapping the data provide perspective to not only the store, but to brands and delivery partners regarding shelf and inventory optimization.

The companies said the system allows the companies to:

  • Conduct autonomous product audits, allowing store associates to better serve customers;
  • Provide timely alerts for out-of-stock, low-stock, and misplaced items;
  • Ensure price tag updates are expedited to reflect price adjustments and promotions;
  • Deliver continuous in-store performance insights for brand and retail service partners;
  • Optimize product location to create a more organized shopping flow and efficient planogram that works in concert with other technology.

“Tally has been instrumental in boosting the way our shelves are managed and how our stores function. As a result of working with Simbe, we’ve experienced a phenomenon we call ‘The Tally Effect,’ an immediate improvement in in-store operations and increased teammates productivity,” said Dave Steck, Schnucks Vice President of IT – Infrastructure and Application Development. “Currently, teammates are spending several hours a week completing tasks like inventory scanning and price tag auditing. Since we implemented Tally, the robot now completes those mundane tasks, allowing teammates to focus on customer service. We have confidence that with Simbe, our stores will run more smoothly and customers will continue to have exceptional, and modern, shopping experiences.”

Millions of products scanned

Schnucks said the Tally robots currently traverse store floors three times per day, scanning approximately 35,000 products per trip. By increasing this to at least 15 stores, the Tally robots will scan more than 1.5 million products in an average day. Schnucks said this will give the grocery chain “more accurate, frequent, and comprehensive insights into product flow and in-store operations.

Brad Bogolea Simbe Robotics RFID Scanning article

Brad Bogolea, Simbe Robotics CEO and co-founder

Schnucks customers and teammates have the unique opportunity to shop and work alongside Tally with the reassurance that products are priced and placed correctly. The robot is fully autonomous, meaning it safely navigates around aisles and shoppers, and returns to its charging dock all on its own, without any human intervention.

“Schnucks is deeply committed to exceptional customer service and has taken a tech-forward approach to improving in-store operations, which ultimately delivers a better shopping experience,” said Brad Bogolea, CEO of Simbe. “Tally has provided Schnucks with a deeper understanding of inventory flow and shelf health, and the results exceeded expectations. We look forward to our continued partnership and bringing digital-grade insights to even more of Schnucks stores.”

Tally is already operating in stores in the following Missouri locations: Ballwin, Chesterfield, Des Peres, and Webster Groves. The additional rollout, planned for November, includes Missouri stores in St. Louis, Florissant, Twin Oaks, and Granite City, Ill.

Earlier this year, Simbe announced adding RFID scanning and machine learning abilities to the Tally system, which debuted in late 2015. In July, the company said its robots were deployed at 11 retailers worldwide, taking more than 32 million shelf photos, analyzing more than 150 million products, and navigating more than 4,500 kilometers insides stores and alongside customers and employees. In addition to scanning shelves, robots in retail have disrupted the industry by providing customer service and delivering products within stores or warehouses.

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