Meet Tally: BJ's and Simbe Roll Out Tally AI to Improve Club Experiences


Hi, I’m Tally! I check shelf inventory!

This is the message printed on the front of a new type of AI that has been designed to strategically roam grocery stores and warehouse clubs, rolling down aisles and double-checking inventory statuses of select for-sale items.

(It also has eyes like WALL-E’s, but we aren’t that far into the future just yet.)

The story here is simple: Marlborough, Massachusetts-headquartered membership warehouse club operator BJ’s Wholesale Club Holdings Inc. (or simply “BJ’s”) recently announced a partnership with Simbe, an AI-powered business intelligence solution provider. By way of partnering, BJ’s and Simbe aim to deploy Tally, their AI-powered technology that can autonomously browse its designated store while gathering shelf data and providing inventory updates tracked in real time.

Another goal of Tally, a chainwide operation for BJ’s, is to provide greater visibility into club conditions while tracking store trends that may lead to deeper business insights, in terms of operations and customers’ experiences.

And though no new deployment on this scale is without its hiccups, imagine for just a moment: You’re walking through a BJ’s store; perhaps to pick up a prescription or last-minute groceries, let’s say. You pass by shoppers looking shelves up and down as per usual, as well as club staff re-stocking select products.

Then, either alongside a human staff member or simply cruising on its own, you see Tally. It’s using its sensors and elaborate computer vision technology to collect data on in-stock items and on items’ prices to ensure accuracy. This would then lead to faster restocking due to Tally having completed a task a human may not been able to get to yet. And to boot, if human workers at that particular BJ’s were assisting customers at the same time, this highlights even more value; Tally can handle various inventorial duties, carving out time for human staff to help club members in need.

“BJ’s Wholesale Club and its executive leadership are committed to providing the best experience possible for both staff and club members, and this new platform unlocks actionable data that will take that mission to the next level,” said Brad Bogolea, CEO of Simbe. “Our team has partnered with BJ’s to refine our computer vision innovations to accommodate the unique layout and product assortment in warehouse clubs. And by leveraging Tally to automate inventory-tracking, BJ’s will gain transformative visibility that will inform decisions, improve operations, and provide even greater value to members.”

Together, BJ’s, Simbe and Tally have ideally created smarter windows of opportunity to optimize club conditions and accurate merchandising executions, while removing an array of manual human hassles and taking in-store experiences into the future.

(Again, perhaps not as far as WALL-E’s future. Still, it’s an improved future for BJ’s shoppers, at the very least.)

Edited by Greg Tavarez
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