Albertsons Companies is partnering with Takeoff Technologies to pilot the micro-fulfillment center concept and Takeoff’s artificial intelligence capabilities, making it the first national grocer to implement an automated e-commerce fulfillment solution for customers, according to the company.
“Investing in e-commerce directly benefit our customers, and anything that we can do to simplify their grocery shopping experience to save valuable time is a win,” said Narayan Iyengar, SVP Digital and eCommerce at Albertsons Cos. “While our partnership with Takeoff Technologies will streamline e-commerce fulfillment and improve our efficiencies, we’re excited that Takeoff’s AI solution will make it even easier for customers to get their groceries how and when they want. This is a major step in our commitment to being a customer-centric player in the digital food and wellness ecosystem.”
The “hyper-local” automated fulfillment center will be piloted in an existing store. Just like store shelves are stocked frequently, the machine will be replenished daily. A customer will enter an order using the existing e-commerce interface, and the order will be delivered to the automated system. Takeoff will then take over the fulfillment process, using artificial intelligence-enabled technology and a system of totes and conveyors to deliver the items to an Albertsons Cos. employee, who will prepare the order for the customer, greatly reducing the amount of time necessary for individual customer orders to be processed.
Albertsons Cos. chose the solution because the model is structured to use the existing supply chain and store footprint, and offers flexibility in picking various types of products.