Wakefern Food Corp. announced yesterday that it has partnered with Takeoff Technologies to build an automated fulfillment center in Cliffton, NJ. The center will fulfill orders for online shoppers at select ShopRite stores in New Jersey and New York.
Takeoff builds robot-powered micro-fulfillment centers, which use a series of tote boxes, rails and conveyors to quickly assemble online orders for either delivery or pickup. These centers are on the smaller side and typically in the back of existing supermarkets. Through its automated system, Takeoff can put together online orders of up to 60 items in just minutes.
Wakefern, which is a cooperative of 50 retailer-owned grocery retailers across the east coast, including ShopRite, The Fresh Grocer, Price Rite Marketplace and Dearborn Market, said in the press release it has agreed to build out more fulfillment centers with Takeoff in the future.
While online shopping is currently a small percentage of overall grocery shopping, it’s growing, and retailers are preparing for it by testing automated fulfillment systems like Takeoff’s, expanded curbside pickup and self-driving delivery vehicles. All in an effort to get you your groceries faster and get more of your business.
Robotic order fulfillment seems to be picking up steam as Kroger recently announced it will open its fourth Ocado-powered automated fulfillment warehouse in Georgia, Common sense Robotics opened up its own micro-fulfillment center in Tel Aviv, and Walmart has partnered with Alert Innovation to test out its micro-fulfillment solution.
For its part, this is the fourth grocery retail customer for Takeoff, which already has agreements in place with Sedano’s, Albertsons, and Ahold Delhaize.