Mobile robotics vendor Badger Technologies will expand its use of retail automation bots at more than 300 Stop & Shop grocery stores throughout the Northeast, the company said today.
The firm’s multipurpose autonomous platforms—known as “Marty the Robot”—were first rolled out at Stop & Shop stores starting in January 2019, representing the grocery industry’s first large-scale rollout of in-store robotics, according to Kentucky-based Badger, which is a product division of Jabil.
Those robots’ original job was spotting potential floor hazards and spills, but in an upgrade they will now perform real-time inventory tracking, detect misplaced items, and conduct product checks to help ensure greater on-shelf availability for customers by alerting store associates when items need re-stocking.
That strategy will free up store employees to do higher value tasks, according to Stop & Shop, which is a unit of Ahold Delhaize USA. “Marty has delivered tremendous value for us already in terms of creating a safer in-store environment, and we’re excited to announce these new automated shelf-scanning capabilities, which will deliver even more value for customers and associates,” Gordon Reid, president of Stop & Shop, said in a release. “With Marty’s new ability to find and fix on-shelf product availability and to confirm pricing information, associates can spend even more time with shoppers.”
Equipped with multiple sensors, the Marty bots traverse store aisles while navigating without disrupting the shopping experience for customers, thanks to computer-vision technology, AI-driven business intelligence, and cloud-based analytics.
According to Badger, retailers are integrating robots like Marty to improve omnichannel shopping experiences. The ability to identify and resolve product and price discrepancies quickly increases the integrity of order fulfillment, warehouse, inventory, POS, and e-commerce systems while boosting supplier forecasting and planogram compliance. Moreover, having precise product locations assists with e-commerce, online order picking, mobile shopping apps, and curbside delivery, Badger said.