Frequently Asked Questions

What is Shelf Engine?

Shelf Engine does demand forecasting for highly perishable foods, automating the entire grocery ordering process. We submit the order to the supplier, pay for everything they deliver, and only charge your store for what it sells.

What opportunities arise for my business when ordering is handled by Shelf Engine?

We find that most category leads are spending 1.5-2 hours a day with ordering itself, and sometimes spend even more time with order-related tasks. Multiplied by all the categories across your store, it adds up. Recouping that time could enable your store to focus on beautiful merchandising, ensure that stocking best practices are adhered to, or better assist customers find what they’re looking for. What’s especially exciting are all the possibilities that exist beyond those opportunities. In a new age of grocery, what could you do with that extra time you’ll have to wow your customers?

What type of impact can we expect from using Shelf Engine’s AI?

Using Shelf Engine to buy for every SKU in your fresh food categories means that you’re going to see a reduction in your out-of-stock items and an increase in sales. Shelf Engine also learns how many items should be on the shelf so your food waste is greatly reduced, boosting your profit margins.

So, wait — how does Shelf Engine make money?

Shelf Engine charges a forecasting fee for the items we manage that is less than the cost of the spoilage you’re incurring today. This means that you start seeing an increase in profits from the very first day you start using Shelf Engine and you never have to think about ordering or deal with shrink again.

How does Shelf Engine forecast orders?

Shelf Engine’s artificial intelligence (AI) estimates demand and on-hand inventory better than any other system. Using the grocer’s POS and delivery data, as well accounting for other variables like weather, news trends, holidays, and demographics, Shelf Engine forecasts demand for each SKU — for every store, every day — with very high accuracy. With more products on the shelves and less spoilage, stores increase their gross margins by an average of over 50% while increasing sales.

Why is intelligent forecasting using machine learning valuable?

Grocery buying decisions are complex and the tools many buyers have can be influenced by all kinds of bias. Factors like shelf size, customer feedback, and personal preferences can impact human decisions at the store level. Shelf Engine removes those pieces and feeds the AI with data to make the smartest decisions resulting in the perfect order for each SKU, for each store, every single day—automatically.


How is Shelf Engine more than simply a software solution?

One of the unique things about Shelf Engine is that our goals are perfectly aligned with yours. The more we can drive your sales and reduce your shrink, the better you do and the better we do. A piece of software doesn’t care if you’re experiencing vendor shorts or if you have stocking issues in your store. Shelf Engine cares about outcomes and wants to solve those challenges. Why? Because we’ve taken on your inventory risk and will buy back anything that doesn’t sell. This incentivizes us to understand the entire supply chain. It’s also why we take care to build relationships with every supplier we work with to ensure high quality products are available to you at the right time and in the right place so we can win together.


How complicated is it to incorporate Shelf Engine into our business?

It’s actually quite simple. Shelf Engine is set up like a supplier. We connect and integrate with your sales data, the same as many of your current suppliers. The items we’re set up to order are the same items you have set up with your current suppliers. There’s nothing that IT needs to do and no extra pressure is put on your other technology systems.

What are the first steps toward working with Shelf Engine?

Our first step is analyzing your data. You send us historical data for any categories you want to explore and we’ll tell you how much money you’re leaving on the table. The second step is to launch a pilot that typically includes 5-25 of your stores and 1-3 of your categories. We run that pilot for 6-8 weeks and show you the results.

Why is the pilot important?

Shelf Engine offers a new model for fresh food buying and inventory management. We understand that you may need to get buy-in from many other people in your organization to try something different. A no-commitment pilot gives us the opportunity to capture real results in your context that you can share with your team. Then we can talk about scaling that impact to further improve your P&L.

Is Shelf Engine hiring?

Yes — Shelf Engine is growing! Are you interested in joining our mission to reduce food waste through automation? Visit our Careers page to see the roles we’re adding to the team.

Could you be selling more and wasting less?

We’ll analyze your data (free!) to help you spot ways to optimize your supply chain.

Find Out How

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We’ll show you how Shelf Engine boosts sales, simplifies fresh ordering, and strengthens shopper loyalty.

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