Woolworths to test micro fulfilment tech

Date : 08 August 2019

Woolworths has partnered with Takeoff Technologies to test its automated micro fulfilment technology in three locations.

Test to start in the next 12 months before potential further roll out

The implementation of the automated sites will take place within the next 12 months, with Woolworths hoping that the trial will help it both meet the growing demand for online grocery orders, but also enhance fulfilment time and drive profitability. The location of the three stores where the technology will be tested is yet to be decided, but may include both supermarkets and liquor outlets. Woolworths will assess the trial after the initial period and then decide whether to roll out the initiative further.

Takeoff tech being used in the US already...

Based in Boston in the US, Takeoff Technologies is an eGrocery startup that builds compact, automated micro fulfilment centers. Using a store’s existing footprint to improve online operations, the automation minimises the space required by using technology that functions in compact vertical spaces. Takeoff is already working with Ahold and Albertsons in the US and is looking to expand its footprint in Europe and North America further.

Online automation a growing trend (in the right places)

Earlier this year Coles announced its partnership with Ocado to use the online grocers platform capability, as well as open two new automated online fulfilment centres in Australia in the coming years. Woolworths will hope that its deal with Takeoff will allow it to drive similar improvements and efficiencies. Globally we are witnessing retailers get more savvy around rolling out automation alongside a variety of other online fulfilment models, in the right locations to meet shopper demand and improve profitability. Woolworths sees its own online operations in the future having a mix of large scale fulfilment centers in major metropolitan areas, as well as solutions that use the reach of its stores at a more local level.

Delivering 'ultra-convenience' at a local level

Brad Banducci, Woolworths Group CEO, commented: “At Woolworths, we are continuing to look for ways to enhance our customers' online experience, especially the speed at which we make orders available to them. This partnership with Takeoff will allow us to deliver ultra convenience at a local level, with the ability to be even closer to the customer for that last mile delivery. We’re excited to see how this partnership develops, helping us accelerate our customer offering with faster order picking, while also enhancing the overall shopping experience."

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