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Stop & Shop Expands Usage of In-Store Robots

Marty the robot's data enhancements enable it to flag out-of-stocks and detect misplaced items. The grocer has also begun leveraging Marty outside of the store to interact with customers and support cause campaigns.

Ahold Delhaize’s Stop & Shop is upgrading its in-store autonomous robots at more than 300 of its Northeastern stores.

Retail automation solutions provider Badger Technologies (a product division of Jabil)  began rolling out Marty the robot to hundreds of Stop & Shop and Giant/Martin stores in January 2019 following successful pilot programs. The robots were initially deployed to improve in-store efficiencies by identifying and reporting hazards such as liquid, powder and bulk food-item spills.

With the upgrade, Marty the robot’s enhanced capabilities at Stop & Shop stores enable it to now conduct product checks to help ensure greater on-shelf availability by alerting store associates when items need re-stocking. In addition to flagging out-of-stocks, this smarter version of Marty also detects misplaced items while continuing the usual task of spotting potential floor hazards and spills.

“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,” Gordon Reid, president of Stop & Shop, said in a media 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.”

In addition to Marty’s in-store duties, the robot has also been leveraged outside of the store in support of Stop & Shop’s “Feed it Forward” initiatives to make a positive impact in the community. Marty recently paid a visit to a young boy recovering from cancer and delivered groceries to his family’s home as part of Stop & Shop’s fundraising campaign for pediatric cancer.

Badger Technologies says Marty will be out-of-store even more to assist cause campaigns, including fighting hunger, honoring members of the military and supporting breast cancer research alongside the American Cancer Society.

On Sept. 22, Marty will join Stop & Shop and the Boston Red Sox for a special appearance at Fenway Park in honor of Hunger Action Month. The partners will use Marty to address food insecurity among students through the Stop & Shop School Food Pantry Program.

“Over the years, Stop & Shop has done a great job of communicating the robot’s purpose, and Marty has gained a loyal following among shoppers and community members of all ages,” William “BJ” Santiago, CEO of Badger Technologies, said in the release. “The addition of inventory, pricing and trend data with the introduction of this upgraded Marty reinforces Stop & Shop’s continuing dedication to improving storewide efficiencies while creating long-lasting value for customers.”

As part of Stop & Shop’s “connected-customer strategy,” the upgraded Marty model utilizes computer-vision technology, AI-driven business intelligence and cloud-based analytics to improve the in-store experience for shoppers.

Real-time inventory tracking enables Stop & Shop to expedite restocking and price corrections. Equipped with multiple sensors, Marty also continues to traverse store aisles and monitor floor conditions and potentially mitigate risk of accidents.

Retailers including BJ’s Wholesale Club and ShopRite are integrating robots like Marty to improve omnichannel shopping experiences, identify and resolve product and price discrepancies quickly and enhance supplier forecasting and planogram compliance.

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