Woolworths has opened its second eStore in Australia to drastically increase the number of online orders it can deliver on the Sunshine Coast as demand for home delivery soars.
The newly built eCom floor spans 1,250 sqm at Woolworths' existing Maroochydore (Big Top) supermarket and is a first for the state of Queensland.
Using automated fulfilment technology from Takeoff Technologies and KNAPP AG, products are sorted and moved from automated storage units directly to staff hand picking orders.
Each storage unit can hold up to 10,000 worth of grocery products, while fresh fruit, vegetables and meat will be selected directly from the shopfloor.
The technology is said to improve the speed, efficiency and accuracy of the picking process leading to thousands of extra online orders to be delivered to Sunshine Coast customers.
Despite Covid-19 restrictions easing along the Sunshine Coast, many customers are continuing to opt for home deliveries.
Woolworths director of eCommerce Annette Karantoni said “the continued growth in online grocery demand has given us an opportunity to reimagine the future of our stores”.
“This technology will help our team of 150 personal shoppers pick orders with greater speed and accuracy, while keeping us close to our Sunshine Coast customers for faster and more flexible deliveries to the home,” she said.
“The new delivery capacity comes at a critical time as more of our customers turn to home delivery through the pandemic.
“Importantly, the eStore layout also helps reduce congestion in the aisles for our in-store customers, as our personal shoppers pick most items in the back of house.”
The Maroochydore eStore will carry out delivery orders across Coolum Beach to Wurtulla.
To support the new store the supermarket giant allocated an extra 150 staff to fill orders, including 80 new hires.
Part of the new hires include a stock & systems manager responsible for technology inventory.
Woolworth's first eStore launched in Carrum Downs, Victoria in October 2020 and another two sites opened in New Zealand earlier this year.
The company first trialled the micro-fulfillment centres in three stores under an exclusive agreement to implement the technology.
Woolworths reported a 90.5 percent annual eCommerce sales growth in the quarter ending early April this year.
The Maroochydore store is one of four sites to rollout Takeoff Technologies since the partnership began in 2019.
Evolve Constructions was selected as the eStore builder for the new centre.