Simbe, a company that makes an autonomous mobile shelf scanning robot for retail locations, is announcing a new partnership with French-based Decathlon, the largest sporting goods retailer in the world. A Simbe robot named Tally will soon be rolling down the aisles of Decathlon's first U.S. location.
The announcement comes on the heels of Simbe's recent partnership with Schnuck Markets, one of the largest privately-held supermarket chains in the States.
Though new to market and not yet widely distributed, shelf scanning robots will become a common sight in physical retail locations within the next couple years. At a basic level, the robots, which roam stores and quickly scan merchandise on shelves using machine vision or RFID readers, help retailers keep track of inventory more efficiently than employees with scanning guns.
But the real advantage of these robots is in the data they collect. By analyzing massive amounts of data, such as item popularity at a given time of day or in a given shelf location, retailers can gain e-commerce level insights into customer behavior and product trends. Analytics like that helped e-commerce startups topple many brick & mortar giants. Shelf-scanning robots are one way physical retailers are hoping to level the playing field.
Read more at ZDNet.