Here in the U.S. we have data showing that curbside pickup is the most popular option for e-commerce grocery shoppers. As such, we’ve seen companies like Albertsons and Walmart invest in new fulfillment systems to make curbside pickup easier for its customers.
Over in Europe, the biggest activity we’ve seen in the grocery space is around smaller dark stores offering super-fast (sub-fifteen minute) delivery of goods. We haven’t seen as much news around implementation of automated services. (Granted, we get a limited view from over here in the U.S.)
So when Danish superstore chain Bilka posted a video of its automated pickup kiosk this week, we perked up. The video is a brief explainer showing customers how to use the new kiosks. Customers pull up, enter a unique code on a built-in touchscreen, and a box with their grocery order is brought up robotically.
Worth noting is that in the video, groceries are packed loose in boxes, not in plastic bags. From my own personal experience, grocery retailers go a little heavy on the plastic bag use here in the U.S., oftentimes just putting one item in its own bag. That’s a lot of plastic waste.
Big retailers are at the very early stages of rolling out these automated pickup kiosks. Albertsons debuted one in Chicago in January of this year, and Walmart Canada announced last month that it will be adding automated pickup kiosks to its stores.
Because these systems are so new, we don’t have a ton of data on consumer adoption. But with curbside pickup attracting more than half of monthly grocery e-commerce shoppers here in the U.S., we’ll no doubt be seeing more automated kiosk announcements throughout this year.
If you’re curious about the future of automation, be sure to attend ArticulATE, our food robotics and automation virtual summit happening on May 18! We’ll have speakers from Swisslog and Tortoise talking about how robots will help you get your groceries. Get your ticket today!