Wakefern Food Corp., parent of grocery brands ShopRite, Price Rite, the Fresh Grocer and Dearborn Market, has opened an automated micro fulfillment center in Clifton, NJ through a partnership with Takeoff Technologies, with plans to launch more.
This follows similar e-grocery automation initiatives by Kroger, with partner Ocado, and Albertsons – also with Takeoff – as grocers look to meet increasing demand for fast, efficient order fulfillment.
Currently, e-grocery represents less than 5% of the $708.2 billion U.S. market but is growing rapidly as consumers see another convenient ecommerce category, leading to massive technology investments by grocery chains.
The new fulfillment center will service ShopRite customers in northern New Jersey and the New York metro area. It uses advanced robotics to pull together orders of up to 60 grocery items in minutes; the companies said the facility also lowers costs in addition to increasing fulfillment speed. Customers can either pick up an order at a store or have it delivered to their home.
“We are excited to partner with Takeoff Technologies to see how their hyperlocal automation technology will benefit our cooperative, retail members and shoppers,” said Steve P. Henig, Wakefern’s vice president of Digital Commerce and Analytics in a release.