Shoppers can expect to see more robots in grocery stores soon. Simbe Robotics Inc. yesterday announced that Wakefern Food Corp. will expand its deployment of Simbe's Tally inventory system to additional ShopRite stores after a successful pilot.
“Tally has proven to be the ideal shelf-intelligence solution for our members, as it’s been able to roll right into our technology ecosystem, sending real-time shelf condition data directly to retail associates’ handheld devices,” said Charles J. McWeeney, vice president of technology, innovation, and strategy at Wakefern.
“With timely, consistent, and accurate product data from Tally, our in-store mobile application presents a prioritized aisle-by-aisle inventory worklist to the store associates, ensuring they invest their time in the most meaningful and valuable services for our customers,” he explained.
Founded in 1946, Keasby, N.J.-based Wakefern stated that it has grown from a small, local cooperative with eight grocery store owners into “the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the U.S.”
The cooperative today includes nearly 50 member families that independently own and operate hundreds of supermarkets under the ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, Dearborn Market, Gourmet Garage, and Fairway Market banners. Wakefern includes stores in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.
Tally uses vision, AI, and the cloud
Simbe Robotics described Tally as “the world’s first fully autonomous in-store product auditing solution.” The mobile robot works with retail store associates by providing timely information to ensure that products are always stocked, in the right place, and correctly priced.
With a suite of sensors and a user-friendly design, Tally can operate safely during regular store hours alongside shoppers and employees, said Simbe. It doesn’t require any infrastructure changes to the store, the company added.
Tally’s AI-powered platform can detect out-of-stock items at more than 99% accuracy and free up dozens of hours per week for store teams to focus on other important tasks, claimed Simbe. The robot can also generate comprehensive product location data for efficient replenishment, it said.
In addition, Tally sends data to Simbe’s cloud-powered software platform, which uses computer vision and machine learning to give retailers actionable insights into the state of their stores. This information can be used to streamline store performance, maximize customer satisfaction, increase sales, and optimize operational expenditures, said Simbe.
The robot can scan an entire store up to three times per day and autonomously return to its charging dock, allowing for continuous operation, it said. Tally requires only one day to set up, and can achieves a return on investment (ROI) within 60 days, said Simbe.
Wakefern gets real-time visibility with Simbe
Over the past several months, Wakefern said it vetted Simbe’s platform in more than 20 stores to ensure that it seamlessly integrated into store environments, provided useful information, and freed store associates for customer-facing tasks.
“With our business intelligence solution, Wakefern has real-time visibility into shelf health at a frequency and fidelity that cannot be found anywhere else on the market,” said Brad Bogolea, co-founder and CEO of Simbe.
“This consistent access to deep, precise insights has empowered Wakefern and its members' store teams to further improve the exceptional shopping experience their customers expect by keeping shelves fully stocked,” he said. “We look forward to continuing to enhance the experience for store teams and shoppers alike.”
San Francisco-based Simbe Robotics is a privately held, venture-backed company that works with major worldwide retailers and brands across the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Last month, it announced a Series B round of $28 million, led by Eclipse. Simbe said the latest investment will help it meet growing demand among retailers such as Wakefern.
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