Wakefern Food Corp., the grocery cooperative that operates 353 supermarkets in the Northeast under banners including ShopRite, The Fresh Grocer, Price Rite Marketplace and Dearborn Market, has launched its first automated fulfillment center in Clifton, N.J. The new center will serve select ShopRite stores operated by Wakefern member Inserra Supermarkets in North Jersey and New York.
Takeoff Technologies partnered with Wakefern to build the hyperlocal fulfillment center, which is designed to increase speed and lower costs for retailers while improving the overall online grocery shopping customer experience. In particular, the fulfillment center will augment the ShopRite from Home online grocery program, which currently offers shoppers pickup and home delivery services across most ShopRite store locations.
Customers can enter their grocery orders online or via a mobile device, and the orders are routed to the automated system. Takeoff’s technology then takes over the fulfillment process. The AI-enabled robots, working with a system of totes and conveyors, deliver the items to a ShopRite fulfillment center employee who prepares the orders for customers. The system is designed to function at a fraction of the speed and cost of manual picking processes.
Takeoff already has partnered with Albertsons, Sedano’s and Stop & Shop to build similar automated fulfillment centers.
Under the agreement, Wakefern and Takeoff plan to open additional sites in the future.