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08/26/2021

Schnucks Becomes 1st Grocer to Deploy AI Robots Chainwide

Expanded partnership with Simbe brings Tally solution to all stores
Bridget Goldschmidt
Managing Editor
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Schnucks Becomes 1st Grocer to Deploy AI Robots Chainwide Simbe Robotics Tally
Incorporating Simbe Robotics’ Tally into chainwide operations will enable Schnucks to gain even greater visibility into store conditions, with deeper levels of business insights as it adjusts to post-pandemic retail landscape.

In an industry-first chainwide expansion, Schnuck Markets Inc. and Simbe Robotics will team on a multiyear full-scale rollout of Simbe’s Tally solution to all 111 Schnucks locations across the food retailer’s four-state footprint, making Schnucks the first grocer in the world to employ AI-powered inventory management technology at scale. Incorporating Simbe’s solution into chainwide operations will enable Schnucks to gain even greater visibility into store conditions, with deeper levels of business insights as it adjusts to a post-pandemic retail landscape.

“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,” noted Dave Steck, Schnucks’ VP 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 2017 and expanded to additional stores in 2018 and 2020. Tally robots roam store aisles up to three times a day and autonomously capture on-shelf data, including inventory position, price accuracy and promotional execution, for about 35,000 products per store with each trip. According to Schnucks, associates and customers have seen improved inventory and productivity in these stores, with many employees experiencing the “Tally effect,” the ability to spend time on other, more fulfilling tasks such as helping customers. Among Tally’s other benefits are:

  • Incremental revenue opportunities, detecting 14 times more addressable out-of-stocks than manual scans; 
  • 20%-30% reduction in out-of-stock items in stores using Tally;
  • Higher price tag and promotional execution compliance in stores across thousands of products per day;
  • Better accuracy of real-time inventory integrated into Schnucks’ automated replenishment system, streamlining ordering and ensuring that store shelves are restocked more quickly to meet customer needs; and
  • Access to real-time product location data via the Schnucks Rewards app, enabling more efficient shopping trips for customers, restocking and fulfillment activities for store teams, and third-party e-commerce partnerships.

“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 San Francisco-based Simbe. “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.” 

Added Steck: “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. A recent social media video we shared of a child’s interaction with Tally quickly went viral.”

St. Louis-based Schnuck Markets Inc. operates more than 111 stores in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, and employs 13,000 associates. The company is No. 64 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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