GAINES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Meet Meijer’s new worker helping to eliminate empty shelves: Tally.

The autonomous robot now roams the aisles of 10 Meijer stores, looking for missing, misplaced and mispriced products.

As it rolls by shelves, freezers and coolers, Tally uses its camera and sensors to capture images and scan RFID tags on products. The information Tally gathers is fed back in real time to Meijer employees “who can better spend their time filling product holes and fixing errors to improve the customer in-store experience,” explained Christina Fecher, Meijer’s senior manager of corporate communications.

(An image from video provided by Meijer shows Tally scanning shelves at the Meijer store on Alpine Avenue NW in Walker.)

Fecher said Meijer welcomed its first Tally in store earlier this summer as part of a pilot program, which was deemed a success. Tally now operates daily in 10 Meijer stores across the Midwest, including the Meijer on Alpine Avenue NW in Walker and the store near Kalamazoo Avenue and M-6 in Gaines Township.

Fecher said Meijer will review data before deciding whether to deploy Tally in additional stores.

Simbe Robotics’ original Tally hit the market in 2015. The company says its newest third-generation robot has one of the world’s most advanced optical systems, using auto focus technology, dynamic range stabilization and high dynamic range imaging to capture 2D and 3D images.

Simbe Robotics says using Tally’s data, retailers identify out of stock items two to 15 times more often than manual store scans, and reduce empty shelves by 20% to 30% compared to stores without Tally.

As of June 10, more than a dozen retailers worldwide had deployed Tally in their stores, including
Carrefour in France; Decathlon Sporting Goods and the Save Mart Companies in California; Pennsylvania-based Giant Eagle, and Schnuck Markets, headquartered in St. Louis.

While product shortage have become more common during the pandemic, Meijer says it did not roll out Tally because of the pandemic.