Autonomous System Tackles Grocery Inventory, Empty Shelves

With empty shelves symbolizing missed opportunities, a robot will work to place products on shelves when and where customers expect them.


Giant Eagle, a leading food retailer and distributor, recently unveiled a pilot program with Simbe Robotics to deploy Tally - an autonomous, shelf-auditing and inventory analytics solution. It will be deployed in the Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Akron areas. With empty shelves symbolizing missed opportunities for producers and retailers, Tally will work to place products on shelves when and where customers expect them to be. Ideally, this will also free employees up to focus on inventory management. 

In the pilot program with Giant Eagle, Tally sends detailed data reports to store teams every 30 minutes that capture, report, and analyze the state and availability of merchandise. These reports help retail teams to focus on controllable out-of-stock and pricing situations while optimizing each store’s product layout.

Tally requires no infrastructure changes to the store, and operates during normal store hours alongside shoppers and employees. Combined with Tally’s cloud-powered software platform and API, Giant Eagle has more information and insight into the state of its stores. This information can be used to potentially improve store performance, customer satisfaction, sales and cost controls.

"When it comes to the food retail industry, shopper experience is everything,” said Giant Eagle spokesperson Jannah Jablonowski. “If a product is unavailable at the time our customer wants to buy it, we’ve missed an opportunity and disappointed our customer. Tally helps us address these challenges by providing more precise and timely analysis of the state of in-store merchandise and freeing up staff to focus on customer service and guest interaction.”

Additional areas of focus for Tally will include:

  • Inventory count of front facing items.
  • Out-of-stock and low stock detection.
  • Identification of misplaced items.
  • Identification of incorrectly facing or oriented items.
  • Product price tag validation.
  • Third-party supplier compliance and vendor management

In its current pilot deployment, Tally robots in Giant Eagle and Market District traverse the floors multiple times per day, scanning approximately 35,000 products across grocery, health care and beauty aisles.