TECHNOLOGY

More robots rolling down the aisles at Schnucks

BY Marianne Wilson

Now in aisle five at select Schnucks Markets, “Tally,” a shelf-scanning robot.

The family-owned supermarket retailer announced that it is rolling out Simbe Robotics’ autonomous shelf-scanning robots (called Tally) in at least 15 select Schnucks’ stores. Schnucks and Simbe kicked off a pilot at three Schnucks locations in July 2017, which has allowed the chain to capture deeper, real-time insights into on-shelf operations. As a result of the pilot’s success, Schnucks is expanding its use of the robot to the additional locations.

In its current deployment, Tally robots in Schnucks stores traverse the floors three times per day, scanning approximately 35,000 products per sweep. By increasing to at least 15 stores, in an average day the Tally robots will scan over 1.5 million products, giving Schnucks more accurate, frequent, and comprehensive insights into product flow and in-store operations, the company said.

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.

“Tally has been instrumental in boosting the way our shelves are managed and how our stores function,” said Dave Steck, Schnucks VP of IT – Infrastructure and Application Development. “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.”

Currently, Schnucks associates several hours a week completing such mundate tasks as inventory scanning and price tag auditing. But since the chain deployed Simbe’s Tally, the robot now completes those tasks, allowing the employees to focus on customer service, explained Steck.

“We have confidence that with Simbe, our stores will run more smoothly and customers will continue to have exceptional, and modern, shopping experiences,” he said.

Specifically, the robot:

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

Schnucks operates 118 stores in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa.

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