To assemble baskets of products for delivery orders, Albertsons is teaming up with Takeoff Technologies for a trial partnership. Through the arrangement, the process will be handled by technology in lieu of staff, CNBC reported.
With the pilot, Albertsons plans to stock products that shoppers like for online orders in selected areas. Technology enabled by artificial intelligence (AI), along with conveyors, can transport items to a store employee for order completion.
Traditionally, an Albertsons staff member manually picks and packs items for delivery orders – but that is not the best process, as stores are designed for customers' shopping patterns, not for efficiency of completing a basket.
Companies such as Takeoff Technologies provide an automated packing solution to help grocers process orders more efficiently. In partnering with supermarket chains, the company takes up only a small sliver of a brick-and-mortar location – about one-eighth of the space. In that area, Takeoff installs a beehive of sorts, where robots fetch products like breakfast cereals and shampoo. For more delicate items, such as lettuce, a staff member fills that part of the order. When a customer’s order is ready, it can be picked up at a drive-thru window.
Applications of the technology are not limited to supermarkets. While Takeoff Technologies uses extra space in a grocery store, its automated micro-fulfillment centers can also work out of pharmacies, convenience stores and quick-service restaurants (QSRs), as these are locations close to where shoppers live or work.
In addition, these locations could also double as pick-up stations, enabled with grocery lockers for easy access. When it comes to the user interface, grocery retailers can either use their own developed user app or opt to use Takeoff’s app, which offers both credit cards and mobile wallets as payment options.