- Badger Technologies is launching multipurpose aisle-scanning robots at Woodman’s Markets stores throughout Illinois and Wisconsin and plans to expand to all 18 store locations by the end of 2020, according to a press release.
The robots will be used to monitor product availability, verify prices and deliver location data on the more than 100,000 SKU’s at each store. Deployment of the robots is underway.
Badger’s robots use imaging tools and neural networks that allow the bots to detect out-of-stock items with 95% accuracy and incorrectly placed or priced items 90% of the time. The bots can discern product locations within a four-foot section of aisles, most of which extend 100 feet at Woodman's stores.
Woodman’s said its decision to bring on Badger stems from the robots’ ability to lower its operational costs and increase profits. The retailer noted that automating checks on out-of-stocks and price compliance will streamline time-intensive tasks, which is particularly valuable given each store's large floor space.
“Most Woodman’s stores are over 240,000 square feet, nearly six times larger than the grocery industry average,” said Tim Rowland, CEO of Badger Technologies, in the release. “Not only can our robots perform shelf scans in hours, not days, they collect and connect critical data with the Woodman’s mobile shopping app to take customer experiences to the next level.”
Badger keeps track of where items are, which Woodman’s can integrate with its mobile shopping app and help shoppers, online order pickers and store associates find products in the store faster. The data will also allow Woodman’s better predict and manage commodities, improve collaborations with pricing departments and enhance replenishment as well as planogram compliance, the companies noted.
Compared to most regional, family-run retailers, Woodman’s is an early mover on digital technology. In 2016, the grocer deployed its online shopping platform with GrocerKey. In April, shortly after the pandemic hit the U.S., GrocerKey hired 1,000 more e-commerce fulfillment staff to help fulfill orders for Woodman’s.
In 2018, Woodman's introduced mobile scan-and-go as well as a "rapid checkout" machine at one of its Wisconsin stores.
Badger Technologies has installed robots in more than 500 grocery stores since early 2019, including Stop & Shop and Giant stores, and the bots have altogether traveled more than 500,000 miles up and down aisles at partner stores, according to the company.
Like other automated technologies spreading across retail food operations, aisle-scanning robots promise to save money overtime by reducing labor costs and driving up efficiency. Other retailers that have recently rolled out aisle robots include Schucks, Giant Eagle and Walmart.