St. Louis-based grocer Schnuck Markets on Thursday announced plans to expand its partnership with Simbe Robotics to bring Tally robots to all 111 Schnucks locations and, according to the two companies, making Schnucks the first grocer in the world to utilize AI-powered inventory management technology at scale.
Roaming the aisles at Schnucks stores, the Tally robots travel the entire floor two to three times daily and scan about 35,000 products each time, autonomously capturing on-shelf data including inventory position, price accuracy and promotional execution. Tally also improves how products are organized and stocked on shelves to make sure items are placed where customers expect them to be, according to Simbe and Schnucks. The captured data and resulting analytic reports also yield insights on shelf and inventory optimization to the retailer’s brand and delivery partners.
The retailer first deployed Tally robots in July 2017 and expanded to additional stores in 2018 and 2020, with a total of 62 stores currently using the robots.
According to South San Francisco-based Simbe, Tally uses a suite of sensors to safely navigate around aisles and shoppers and, because the robot is fully autonomous, it returns to its charging dock on its own.
By incorporating Tally robots into chainwide operations, Schnucks will gain even greater visibility into store conditions, with deeper levels of business insights as the retailer prepares to adjust to the quickly evolving landscape of a pandemic-impacted world.
“We are facing a ‘new normal’ in the grocery industry, and Tally has been instrumental to ensuring we continue to provide an exceptional store experience while rising to meet new operational challenges,” said Dave Steck, vice president of IT infrastructure and application development. “By deploying Tally to all stores, we are fully operationalizing these insights into our supply chain and expanding our ability to leverage real-time data to make revenue impacting decisions. Tally has become an integral component of our stores, streamlining operations and ultimately creating a better store experience for our customers and teammates.”
Additional benefits of Tally include:
● Detecting 14x more addressable out-of-stocks than manual scans;
● Enabled 20-30% reduction in out-of-stock items;
● Increased price tag and promotional execution compliance in stores across tens of thousands of products per day;
● Increased accuracy of real-time inventory integrated into Schnucks’ automated replenishment system, streamlining ordering and ensuring store shelves are restocked quicker to meet customer needs; and
● Delivered access to real-time product location data through the Schnucks Rewards app, enabling more efficient shopping trips for customers, restocking and fulfillment activities for store teams, and third-party e-commerce partners.
“Schnucks is the prime example of thoughtful adoption of retail technology, and we are honored to be their partner on this journey to create a better store experience through access to richer data,” said Brad Bogolea, founder and CEO of Simbe Robotics. “This expansion is a momentous occasion for Simbe, Schnucks and the broader retail technology industry. It demonstrates that robots that are thoughtfully deployed are a critically important tool for retailers to improve bottom lines, support teams and maintain an exceptional shopping experience, both in stores and online.”
Steck added that Tally has become popular with young children. “Many of our younger customers get very excited to see Tally going up and down the aisles of our stores and seek it out when shopping with their parents,” he said. “A recent social media video we shared of a child’s interaction with Tally, quickly went viral.”
Schnucks operates stores throughout Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.