As ecommerce becomes a bigger part of sales for independent grocers, many are looking for solutions to help ease fulfillment stresses. Sedano’s, a Hispanic grocer with 34 stores in southern Florida, has partnered with Waltham, Mass.-based e-grocery solution Takeoff Technologies to introduce what the company says is the first automated hyperlocal fulfillment center anywhere, or “the world’s first robotic supermarket.”
Miami-area customers place their orders via an app, and the orders are then filled by Takeoff’s automated micro fulfillment center, with the support of Sedano’s employees. Artificial intelligence-enabled robots assemble full supermarket orders of up to 60 items in just a few minutes — a fraction of the speed and cost of current manual-picking options.
Currently, only 14 Sedano’s stores in the Miami-Dade area are using the micro fulfillment center. After placing the order, customers then pick it up at a time they select, at the location of their choosing.
“This model gives us the ability to leap into the e-grocery industry, develop a new level of employment opportunities, and continue meeting the needs of our valued consumers by offering an affordable and convenient online service,” says Javier Herrán, chief marketing manager at Sedano’s.
The objective is to create hyperlocal fulfillment centers that are one-eighth the size of a typical supermarket, through the use of innovative robotics and compact vertical spaces.