Sam’s Club Deploys Inventory-Scanning Robots Nationwide

Sam’s Club says the new scanners will improve inventory and keep employees in customer-facing roles.
sam's club floor scrubber
  • Sam’s Club has rolled out inventory scanning robots at all of its stores. 
  • The new scanners are made by Brain Corp. and are towers attached to autonomous floor scrubbers.
  • Sam’s Club says the new scanners will improve inventory and keep employees in customer-facing roles. 

Sam’s Club in October said it completed the nationwide rollout of the inventory-scanning robots that it introduced earlier this year. 

The robots are powered by technology from Brain Corp., a California-based robotics automation and artificial intelligence (AI) company, and are attached to the wholesale retailer’s fleet of 600 floor cleaners, which are already automated, the retailer said in a release

The new technology — a tower affixed to the top of the floor scrubber — will continuously scan the store as it moves around. The tower is connected to the cloud and will provide Sam’s Club staff with insights about product localization, planogram compliance, product inventory and pricing accuracy, according to the release. 

Sam’s Club, which is owned by Walmart, said the automation of these functions will help increase accuracy compared to when being done manually. The wholesaler says it expects the technology to help improve product availability and reduce waste stemming from inaccurate ordering.

"Our initial goal at Sam’s Club was to convert time historically spent on scrubbers to more member-focused activities,” said Todd Garner, VP of in-club product management at Sam’s Club. “Our autonomous scrubbers have exceeded this goal. In addition to increasing the consistency and frequency of floor cleaning, intelligent scrubbers have empowered associates with critical insights.” 

Other major retailers have likewise deployed technology to help staff better keep stores stocked and to improve the experience for customers who shop in-store and online. Walmart stores in Canada are rolling out AI technology that relies on cameras pointed at shelves to help improve product availability, as Retail Leader previously reported. 

Amazon employs its Just Walk Out technology at several physical retail concepts, allowing customers to take and pay for products without ever visiting a checkout counter. And grocery deliverer and solutions provider Instacart recently unveiled numerous AI-powered tools for grocers as part of its Connected Stores initiative, according to Retail Leader.

“At Sam’s Club, we have a member-obsessed culture,” Garner said. “These scrubbers help associates ensure products are out for sale, priced correctly and findable, ultimately making it easier to directly engage with our members.”