- A cute grocery store robot named Marty is celebrating its first birthday this week.
- The clean-up assisting robot was rolled out to 172 Giant Food Stores and 325 Stop and Shop locations beginning last January.
- All 325 Stop and Shop stores will be holding a birthday celebration for the robot on Saturday, a spokesperson for Shop and Stop confirmed.
- Other major retailers are expanding their robotic armies. Walmart is bringing its shelf-stocking Bossa Nova robots to 650 more stores.
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The robots might be taking taking over retail, but some of them might be too cute to fear.
Marty, a googly-eyed robot that assists in store clean-up efforts, is celebrating one year since the start of its roll-out across 172 Giant Food Stores and 325 Stop and Shop locations across the US last January.
To celebrate the occasion, all 325 Stop and Shop stores will be holding a birthday celebration for the robot on Saturday, Jennifer Brogan, director of external communications and community relations for Stop and Shop, confirmed.
Customers are invited to stop by participating stores on Saturday, January 25 to celebrate the robot’s birthday with a party, birthday cake, and activities.
When the 6’3″, googly-eyed robot was introduced in January 2019, it was the largest robot rollout for a retail chain at the time. The robot is designed to help alert human employees about spills or potential hazards in the store and has prevented nearly 40 spills or potential hazards in each store a day, according to a connection that was recently launched for the robot. Since its introduction, Marty has become popular among customers, mostly children.
“Generally speaking, we’ve seen a really positive reaction to Marty,” Brogan told Business Insider.
The robot was specifically designed to look somewhat human-like, Nick Bertram, president of Giant, said during a panel at the National Retail Federation’s annual Big Show conference last year. The googly eyes, which solely serve a design purpose, are a large part of the concept.
“What’s really cool and what we did not expect until we started piloting this is that our customers actually loved it,” Nick Bertram, president of Giant, said during the panel. “We thought it might freak some of them out, and of course it did freak some of them out.”
Automation and robots are becoming more and more common among major retailers. Walmart just expanded its fleet of shelf-stocking Bossa Nova robots to 650 more stores. Walmart also recently unveiled a grocery-packing robot to help speed up online order fulfillment.
Walmart has also introduced robots for cleaning floors, for unloading and sorting items from trucks, and for picking up orders in stores, though none of them have googly eyes.