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Schnucks rolls out ‘an industry first’ — robotic inventory at all of its stores

Schnuck Markets Inc. has introduced what it says is an industry-first — a chainwide expansion of a robotic inventory management system.

The partnership with Simbe Robotics will elevate the grocer’s business operations and customer experience, the company said Thursday.

The multi-year, full-scale roll-out will bring Tally robots to all 111 Schnucks locations across the U.S., making Schnucks the first grocer in the world to utilize AI-powered inventory management technology at scale.

The move will allow Schnucks to gain greater visibility into store conditions, with deeper levels of business insights as the retailer prepares to adjust to the quickly-evolving landscape of a post-pandemic 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.”

Schnucks first piloted Tally in July of 2017 and expanded to additional stores in 2018 and 2020.

Tally traverses store aisles up to three times per day and autonomously captures on-shelf data including inventory position, price accuracy, and promotional execution. Additional benefits of
Tally include:
● Detecting 14 times more addressable out-of-stocks than manual scans
● Enabled 20-30 percent 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
● 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 quite popular among many 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.”

Simbe Robotics provides automation solutions that give retailers visibility and insight into the state of their store environments, while improving inventory and operational challenges. Simbe is a privately held, venture-backed company headquartered in San Francisco and works with major worldwide retailers and brands across the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Tally is the world’s first fully autonomous in-store product auditing solution. Tally works in concert with retail store associates by using a suite of sensors, the robot operates safely during normal store hours alongside shoppers and employees and doesn’t require any infrastructure changes to the store.

Tally’s design is intuitive, friendly, and fits naturally into the retail environment. The robot scans entire stores up to three times per day and autonomously returns to its dock allowing for continuous operation.

Simbe said its cloud-powered software platform, powered by computer vision and machine learning, gives retailers unprecedented information and insight into the state of their stores. This information can be used to streamline store performance, maximize customer satisfaction, increase sales, and optimize operational expenditures.

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