First Look: Robots Roam Hy-Vee Supermarkets

Jamie Grill-Goodman
Editor in Chief
Jamie goodman
graphical user interface

Hy-Vee shoppers in Ankeny, IA, and Lincoln, NE, are seeing something high-tech in the grocery aisles these days.

The supermarket chain is rolling out Simbe’s Tally robots, an autonomous inventory management and retail intelligence solution, to improve the in-store experience for customers and store teams.

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“Hy-Vee has a strong reputation for excellent customer service and an employee-first culture,” said Luke Tingley, senior vice president and chief information officer at Hy-Vee. “By employing Tally, we can continue providing that excellent service by reducing out of stocks and empowering our store teams with real-time insights to ensure the best customer experience across the board.”

The robots autonomously scan tens of thousands of products up to three times per day to ensure products are in stock, in the correct location, and correctly priced. This level of accuracy and frequency enables retailers to improve the customer experience through inventory, pricing and promotion information.

By gaining greater visibility into store conditions, Tally helps streamline operations and ensures that retailers can provide the best customer experience in-store, in addition to making better, more informed business decisions – like more accurate order forecasting and optimizing the store layout to support sales. This rich data, combined with Tally’s plug-and-play software platform and APIs, will provide Hy-Vee with unprecedented insights into the state of its stores, giving employees real-time recommendations to improve store operations and maximize customer satisfaction. Tally provides store teams with actionable insights that can reduce out-of-stocks by up to 30%, allowing teams to focus on more engaging tasks such as servicing customers.

“The pandemic truly created a ‘new normal’ for grocery that has illuminated the need for a greater frequency and fidelity of in-store data,” said Brad Bogolea, CEO and co-founder of Simbe Robotics. “Hy-Vee is the perfect example of thoughtfully adopting technology to improve the store experience for both customers and their teams. As retailers face a growing number of considerations, Tally provides a cost-effective solution that ensures they can continue to provide excellent customer service and create a valuable, more enjoyable working environment for their employees.”

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Tally requires no infrastructure changes to the store environment to operate effectively and is designed to be unobtrusive to the shopper’s experience. The robot strategically navigates store aisles during normal store hours, maneuvering alongside shoppers and employees.

Tally robots will be rolling out to additional locations in Lee's Summit, MO; Omaha, NE; and Altoona, IA, in the coming weeks, Hy-Vee said.

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