Are ‘robot supermarkets’ the next big thing in the same day grocery delivery biz?
Ahold Delhaize, the parent company of U.S. Supermarket chains such as Giant Food, Food Lion and Hannaford, is hoping that “robotic picking technology” will help it compete in the same-day grocery delivery business. This according to a report from Reuters.
Ahold owns online grocer Peapod which is the market leader in next day grocery delivery. Same day delivery and pickup has been a harder nut to crack. Now that Amazon has introduced itself into the market via it’s takeover of Whole Foods, competitors realize that they need to step up their game.
Traditionally, the difficult issues that grocers face in competing in the same day delivery business have to do with the cost and efficiency of labor and with solving the “last mile” problem. Ahold hopes to use a technology that reduces labor costs and increases efficiency by using specialized robots that will “pick and pack” customer’s items. These robots will be attached to existing US stores so that same-day delivery to the customer, or customer pickup of items, will solve the last mile problem.
According to Reuters, Ahold is the world’s 8th largest food retailer with 2018 online sales nearing $1 billion.
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