The newest member of the Mars Wrigley staff would fit right in with The Jetsons. 

The company has debuted Smiley, a new robot that brings you candy as you shop.

Specifically, Smiley displays and delivers Mars Wrigley confectionery items normally found at checkout to customers throughout the store. It features catchy tunes and dancing as it makes its rounds through the aisles, offering treats for sale. The robot uses the latest in self-driving technology to ensure safe operation and includes sanitation wipes to safeguard shoppers. 

The innovation is part of Mars Wrigley’s Launchpad program, a digital innovation program established in 2017 that focuses on innovating through meaningful partnership with startups. 

For this program, Mars Wrigley worked with Wakefern Food Corp., the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the U.S.; and Savioke, a robotics provider. The robot will ‘work’ at a ShopRite store in Monroe, NY. 

The company hopes the program will help mitigate some of the potential consumer changes that could happen as more shoppers rely on self-checkout. Research has shown that 78 percent of shoppers are choosing self-checkout and as a result traditional shopping patterns are shifting — especially when it comes to the last minute, impulse purchase. 

Mars Wrigley and Wakefern are using Smiley to enhance the in-store shopping experience and drive engagement beyond the checkout aisle by bringing checkout items to people in other parts of the store.

“As a treats and snacks category leader, we know that while trips to stores are becoming more focused and retailers are moving to more seamless in-store shopping experiences, shoppers still want to be surprised or indulge in impulse purchases,” said Matt Tice, director of grocery category leadership at Mars Wrigley. “Introducing innovative solutions like Smiley will help retailers shake up traditional merchandising, improve their consumers’ shopping experience and drive sales.”

In store, Smiley will display a variety of Mars Wrigley products — from M&M’S and Snickers to Extra and 5 Gum — to shoppers mingling throughout the Shoprite store. 

In addition, the Smiley’s actions can be quickly and easily modified to optimize engagement, support store promotions and deploy new behaviors. 

Smiley can also detect the number of people in its vicinity and display social distancing messages. During this initial phase, the companies will work together to understand how to best inspire impulse purchases wherever shoppers are located within the store.

To date, Mars Wrigley’s Launchpad has delivered 60 pilots through actively assessing and engaging with more than 300 startups.

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