Easy, Digital and Anytime – Bizerba is Making Shopping of the Future Possible

Balingen, 14 Mar 2022 | The food revolution continues: A young startup from Stuttgart, Germany has introduced a new store concept that it calls “Roberta Goods”. With the aid of the networked Bizerba Smart Shelf solutions, customers can purchase fresh food from a fully automated solution around the clock here.

Bizerba's smart shelf solutions are used for fruit, vegetables, and baked goods in self-service areas (© 2022 Roberta Goods)

Under the name smark, a startup based in Stuttgart has been building initial prototypes for fully automated stores since 2017 and has tested them in various concepts. The positive response from customers in Stuttgart has led to the latest project by the smark team: In a small store called “Roberta Goods”, around 300 items from the fresh food, beverages, coffee and other food sectors are available 24/7 – many of which are from regional and local suppliers. “We thought that eating and drinking should be easier, more digital, inspiring and be available at any time. Basically, matching what people’s everyday lives look like”, says Philipp Hoenig, one of the founders. Not only do the stores offer a completely new shopping environment for their customers, but their technological sophistication is also impressive.

Each product removed from the shelf is detected and recorded with gram and centimeter accuracy by a precise weighing system (© 2022 Roberta Goods)

Intelligent inventory monitoring

Buyers can add products to their shopping carts using order screens and make cashless payments. Then, robots assemble and deliver the order to the customer in the automated warehouse. By contrast, products such as bread, fruit and vegetables are made available for self-service in the entrance area with the help of Bizerba Smart Shelf solutions. Here, each product removed from the shelf is detected and recorded with gram and centimeter accuracy. So, the smart shelves open up to a completely new range of possibilities for efficient inventory management and, in the case of Roberta Goods, also ensure reliable monitoring in the unmanned self-service area. A precise weighing system automatically detects which product is removed from the shelf and when. The information is automatically transmitted to the back office or, if desired, even sent as a push message to the store manager's smartphone when inventory levels fall below a threshold. This continuous digital inventory monitoring not only ensures that customers always find fresh fruit, vegetables, and baked goods, but also provides information on how sales of certain products vary depending on the day of the week, time of the day, and even the weather.

The first Roberta Goods store has just opened in Stuttgart, Germany, a second store will follow soon (© 2022 Roberta Goods)

Bizerba is digitalizing brick-and-mortar retailers

In retail, inventory monitoring is a crucial issue. Up to now, the process has mainly been done manually by staff based on subjective perception and individual experience. Excess inventory, out-of-stock situations and products with expired best-before dates are not uncommon. As an innovative solution developer, it makes sense for Bizerba to leverage its experience and expertise in the retail sector to develop digital solutions for such well-known problems. "With the Smart Shelf, we offer a solution in which important core processes at our customers in stationary retail can be digitalized, optimized and at the same time made more efficient with the use of Bizerba weighing technology in conjunction with artificial intelligence," says Andreas Wilhelm Kraut, CEO and shareholder of Bizerba SE & Co. KG.

Storable products can be ordered via order screens and will be assembled in the automated warehouse by robots (© 2022 Roberta Goods)

Awarding the Smart Shelf solution, the coveted Top Supplier Retail 2021 seal confirms Bizerba's course in digital transformation and the use of artificial intelligence. Tudor Andronic, Vice President of Bizerba Software Solutions, is certain that the topic of digitalization will also be a key to success in retail: “At Bizerba, we are really proud to have introduced a true innovation in fresh and baked goods sales to the market with the Smart Shelf Portfolio. The fully automated Roberta Goods Store is an excellent example of how the revolution in retail is moving forward at high speed, with an absolute focus on easy availability of fresh products around the clock."

Yet, Project Roberta's objective is far from complete: The startup will open a second store in Stuttgart with Bizerba solutions before the end of March and, by the way, is also on the search for other suitable locations. Not only that, but the startup is already working on an app which will soon make it possible to browse and pre-order from Roberta while on the go or on the couch.