Albertsons’ Micro Fulfillment Centers are the Future of Online Grocery

The second-largest grocer in the US is using localized fulfillment centers to pack 60-item digital orders in as quickly as five minutes.

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Need to Know

  • Albertsons is partnering with Takeoff Technologies to open micro-fulfillment centers for online orders.
  • Takeoff’s artificial intelligence-enabled robots can assemble grocery orders of up to 60 items in less than five minutes.
  • By 2022, it is estimated that 70% of American shoppers will be buying their groceries online.
  • Albertsons is the second-largest supermarket chain in the US, with over 2,000 of its many subsidiaries, such as Safeway and Acme, located across 34 US states. 

Analysis

Albertsons has formed a strategic partnership with Takeoff Technologies to open micro-fulfillment centers (MFC) for online grocery orders.

MFCs are essentially warehouses equipped with artificial intelligence and robotics to automate and fulfill online orders quickly and efficiently.

Takeoff’s MFCs are situated inside existing stores and typically take up about 10,000 square feet. They hold 15,000 to 18,000 of the local market’s most popular products. These locations allow for online shoppers to receive their grocery orders faster than what would normally be possible. 

“By placing an MFC in an existing store close to customers, we can carry a diverse and locally relevant selection of products with the friendly touch of our local team to service the customer,” explains Chris Rupp, executive vice president and chief customer and digital officer at Albertsons.

Albertsons is the second-largest supermarket chain in the United States, with over 2,000 of its many subsidiaries, such as Safeway and Acme, located in 34 US states. 

Takeoff Technologies specializes in automated grocery fulfillment solutions and aims to bridge the gap between retail and technology. Takeoff says its artificial intelligence-enabled robots can assemble grocery orders of up to 60 items in less than five minutes, a fraction of the speed and cost of current manual-picking options.

This partnership has Albertsons poised for growth in the digital world, which is essential given the rate at which online grocery shopping is growing. 

In the US, online grocery sales are estimated to reach $59.5 billion by 2023—up from $23.9 billion in 2018. By 2022, it is estimated that 70% of American shoppers will be buying their groceries online. 

Aside from the time-saving that comes with online shopping, many customers also enjoy the idea of finding items they may not be able to find in their local shop. Shoppers can also reuse a stored grocery list. Many online shops today also use AI to remember a customer’s preferences and shopping history. 

“We are thrilled to broaden our partnership with Albertsons Cos., a clear leader in grocery retailing and a key player shaping the future of eGroceries,” stated Max Pedro, co-founder and president of Takeoff. “With our strategic partnership, we’re confident we’ll be able to add significant value to their business and consumers as we work in partnership to define the future of e-commerce.”

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