Robots are rolling in the aisles at Stop & Shop stores across the region.
The supermarket chain's parent company, Ahold Delhaize USA, announced in January plans to place robots in Stop & Shop stores to support efficiency and safety in the stores.
The robots are named Marty and their job is to call attention to hazards like when liquid, powder and large foodstuffs spill, then report when action to fix the problem is necessary.
The new technology is designed to alert store employees of spills and safety hazards in the stores, said Jennifer Brogan, Stop & Shop's director of External Communications & Community Relations.
Marty does not have a gender, but store staff uses the pronouns "he/him/his" when referring to the robot, said Brogan who cleared up some misunderstanding heard when Daily Voice asked around among customers about the robots.
Can the robot talk to customers?
"No. The only time Marty speaks is to alert the store when there is a potential hazard. For example, when Marty detects a spill, he will announce “caution, hazard detected” in both English and Spanish over the store's public address system."
Does Marty vacuum the floor?
"No, Marty does not do that. Marty’s sole purpose is to move around the store to monitor for hazards; he does not speak or interact directly with customers. He only alerts store associates when there is a potential hazard that needs to be inspected and cleaned up."
How many are there deployed now in Stop & Shop?
"Stop & Shop is still in the deployment stage, which began in January and will continue throughout 2019. We're excited to roll out more than 300 robots in locations across the brand. (Stores are located in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.)
What has the customer response been to Marty so far?
" Like introducing any type of new technology, there’s an adjustment period for our customers as they get used to Marty's presence in-store and get familiar with his functionality."
"Kids have certainly fallen in love with him. One of our store managers has several customers who have told him they can’t go shopping anywhere else because their kids demand to see Marty every week."
"We’ve also brought Marty to local schools to teach kids about robotics and get them excited about science, which was very well received.""
Who is the "point" person in the store that receives the data from the robot, say in a spill for instance? Customer Service desk? A store manager? Any employee?
"When Marty detects a spill, he sends an announcement over the store’s (public address) system, and store associates who are working at or near the area where Marty is located will clean it up."
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