Wakefern and Simbe to test cutting-edge shelf-scanning robot technology

Grocery cooperative eyes sharper operations with Simbe Robotics’ Tally

Keasbey-based Wakefern Food Corp., the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the U.S., is launching a pilot program together with Simbe to deploy robots, named Tally, to its stores this year.

Tally autonomously roams store aisles up to three times per day, leveraging computer vision technology to collect highly accurate shelf data that ensures products are in-stock, in the correct location, and accurately priced on the sales floor. The company reported that Tally detects up to 10 times more out-of-stock products versus manual shelf checks. In turn, the inventory management duties handled by the robot free up store associates to focus on more engaging tasks such as customer service.

“Wakefern Food Corp. is committed to providing our customers best-in-class grocery shopping experiences,” said Charles J. McWeeney, VP, Technology, Innovation & Strategy at Wakefern Food Corp. “Tally’s technology is another tool to help our store operations and staff while creating new opportunities to maximize customer satisfaction.”

The robot’s data-gathering technology allows store employees to work more closely with customers, according to Brad Bogolea, co-founder and chief executive officer of Simbe Robotics.

Wakefern co-op encompasses nearly 50 members who independently own and operate over 360 supermarkets under the ShopRite (about 280 locations), Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, Dearborn Market, Gourmet Garage and Fairway Market banners in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

“The retail industry is facing a unique and unprecedented set of challenges, and companies must thoughtfully adopt technology to address those challenges while continuing to provide a stellar level of service that customers expect,” said Brad Bogolea, Co-Founder and CEO of Simbe Robotics. “Tally is a cost-effective solution that supports the work of store teams and enhances the retail experience for associates and customers.”