Loblaw Cos. Ltd. has revealed plans to beef up its PC Express click-and-collect service by installing an automated picking facility within one of the grocer’s locations in the greater Toronto area. Construction is currently underway at a Real Canadian Superstore, which will feature 12,000-square-foot picking facility.
Through a partnership with Waltham, Mass.-based Takeoff Technologies, PC Express will be able to process customers’ online grocery faster and more accurately. When it launches in 2020, the technology will be able to support PC Express orders in select stores close to the automated picking facility.
The process will work as follows:
- Customers order through PC Express
- At the automated picking facility, once an order is received it may be split by automated picking and/or in-store picking, depending on the products ordered. Rather than employees having to walk the store to pick groceries, the automated facility brings groceries directly to a Loblaw associate to pick and pack.
- Once complete, the order goes to a ‘staging area’ where another Loblaw colleague reviews the order and stores it in the appropriate temperature zone (Frozen, chilled or, room temperature). The order is then combined with the in-store picked items if necessary.
- Customers arrive and their order is brought out to their car.
“This new technology complements the exceptional service of our PC Express colleagues and leverages the strength of our retail store network,” noted Sharon Lansing, VP, general manager, grocery ecommerce at Brampton, Ontario-based Loblaw. “By increasing the speed and accuracy of our PC Express pickup service, we can ensure our PC Express customers have a seamless and outstanding experience every time they order. We can fill more orders, more quickly, with a near-guarantee that the products customers order online will be in stock at the store.”
“Our proprietary solution will allow them to make significant improvements to their service at a hyperlocal store level,” said Jose Vicente Aguerrevere, Takeoff’s co-founder and CEO, while co-founder and President Max Pedro added, “We provide a turnkey solution that enables grocery chains to skip the typically lengthy and painful process of installing a large, automated warehousing facility, with even better results.”
Loblaw operates 700 PC Express pickup locations at transit stations, pharmacies and in grocery stores across Canada. The company is Canada’s food and pharmacy leader, with a network of corporate and independently operated stores in communities across the country, and employing nearly 200,000 Canadians at five independent divisions.
In the United States, Takeoff has teamed on automated fulfillment projects with such well-known grocers as Ahold Delhaize USA, Albertsons, Sedano’s and Wakefern Food Corp.