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Sporting goods retailer deploys robot to monitor in-store inventory

The world’s largest sporting goods retailer is using a robot to conduct in-store inventory counts.

France’s Decathlon made its U.S. debut in April, opening a flagship (dubbed a lab store) in San Francisco. The store kicks off a partnership between Decathlon Group and Simbe Robotics, and is the retailer’s first location to deploy Simbe’s Tally, described as the world’s “first fully-autonomous inventory robot.”

With the deployment, Decathlon is also one of the first retailers in the world to leverage Tally’s RFID capabilities. (In October, Schnucks Markets said it was rolling out Tally in at least 15 select Schnucks’ locations for shelf management following a successful pilot.

The bot roaming the aisles at Decathlon will use RFID and computer vision technology to capture, report, and analyze the quantity and location of store inventory. The automation solution will allow Decathlon’s in-store team to focus on customer service and delivering a great store experience.

“When launching our first store in San Francisco, a city at the forefront of innovation, we invested in ground-breaking technology that could help us rethink the brick-and-mortar retail experience,” said Tony Leon, chief technology officer at Decathlon, which operates some 1,414 stores in 45 countries. “RFID tagging was pivotal in helping us better manage our inventory. As we look to the next chapter of retail innovation, Tally enables our team to focus on cultivating unique experiences and sharing advice tailored to each customer’s athletic passions.”

Simbe’s technology has the power to provide the following services for Decathlon:

• Precise storewide inventory audits and regular cycle counts;
• Alerts for out of stock items or low inventory;

• Location and identification of misplaced products at sub-meter accuracy; and

• Visual audits of merchandise and inventory layout optimization.

“Decathlon has deployed Tally in a uniquely customer-centric environment, leveraging Tally’s RFID capabilities to capture real-time insight into product flow, pricing, and availability by providing precise inventory audits and cycle counts, in addition to sharing the location of each product in store.” said Brad Bogolea, CEO at Simbe Robotics.
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