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Shelfie CEO talks supermarket robots

Lakeba ShelfieGone are the days of purely manual labor as robots and Artificial Intelligence are slowly taking over the FMCG markets.

Lakeba, an innovative technology company, recently launched the Shelfie robot.

Inside FMCG sat down with the CEO of Shelfie, Darren Younger, regarding its innovative technology.

“Shelfie is an in-store robot that automatically travels around the store each night scanning all the shelves for gap analysis and product misplacement, planogram compliance and visual merchandise compliance,” said Younger on the high tech invention.

“We have developed the software solution that uses a cloud based platform and database to collect and analyse all the data as it’s captured. Image recognition and machine learning is also be incorporated into the solution.”

Shelfie monitors stocks in supermarkets and other stores as it delivers real-time data. It helps address under- or overstocking issues of products.

The CEO said it will cut operational costs for retailers and their employees can focus more on providing better customers’ service to shoppers. There’s a camera fitted on the robot that has a fixed shelf eye element. It can capture and see grocery stocks and shelves directly. The images Shelfie captures are blurred for the privacy of shoppers.

The robot has already been launched in the UK. More Shelfie trials are scheduled this year in Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, USA and South Africa.

Inside FMCG: The robot is created to help retailers solve under- and overstocking issues and deal with metrics. Can you explain more about the Shelfie Index?

DY: At any one time, knowing the current state of your store compared to its ideal state is the first step towards boosting sales revenue, transforming efficiency and improving the customer experience. Shelfie is a retail shelf analytics platform that compares ideal state with [the] current state. [The robot] then creates an Index, which provides a measurable metric that can be monitored and managed over time.

Inside FMCG: How will this affect manual labor in supermarkets?

Shelfie helps improve the efficiency of manual labor as the store staff no longer need to spend time on finding the things wrong with the store, and focus on fixing them. We are also finding the visibility of the Shelfie Index is proving to be a great motivational tool for employees as they can now be measured on how efficient they are.

Inside FMCG: How will it help revolutionize the FMCG and retail industries?

The Shelfie Index is transforming retail operations by helping to identify stock gaps, alerting staff to planogram discrepancies within the store and proving a new KPI that is all about the physical appearance of a store.

Inside FMCG: Apart from the Shelfie, what other new technologies do you foresee happening in the industry?

There is a big opportunity for a wide range of technology in the retail industry. A popular trend at the moment is all about personalisation and how to merge the digital and physical consumer experiences together.

Inside FMCG: Technology makes our lives easier but how will consumers and businesses deal with tech problems as Shelfie emerges in the market?

Shelfie will improve efficiency of store staff, provide very rich insights into the presentation of the store [and] increase revenue for the stores. This is a great example of new innovation driving change in the retail sector.

Shelfie will be exhibiting at the Inside Retail Live event, a Festival of Retail Ideas happening on March 29-31, 2017 at the Sydney ICC.

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