Woolworths is set to trial automated “micro-fulfillment centres” in three stores to increase the speed at which it is able to pick and ship online orders.
The retailer struck an exclusive agreement with Boston-based startup Takeoff Technologies and will implement the technology “at an initial three sites” over the next year.
It plans to use these three sites to “evaluate the suitability of the technology for further rollout,” it said in a statement.
According to Woolworths, the Takeoff technology “is designed to meet the growing demand for online shopping by moving products closer to the picker - saving team members from walking up and down the aisles to locate products.”
“This partnership with Takeoff will allow us to deliver ultra convenience at a local level, with the ability to be even closer to the customer for that last mile delivery,” CEO Brad Banducci said.
“We see the future of online delivery as a mix of our large scale fulfillment centres in major metropolitan areas and a localised approach that leverages the strength of our national store network.”
The initial three Woolworths Group store locations “are yet to be determined, but may include supermarkets and drinks”, the retailer said.
Rival Coles has similarly struck an agreement with Ocado for automated fulfilment technology for online orders.