Sunday, October 7, 2018

Technology Invades the Grocery Store

Every sector of retail foodservice is exploring, testing, rolling out new technologies, services, and formats to add customer relevance to their brand while edifying its relationship with its core customers according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.
Recently Hispanic grocer Sedano’s Supermarket has joined forces with e-grocery solution Takeoff Technologies to launch what the companies say is the inaugural automated hyperlocal fulfillment center anywhere, or “the world’s first robotic supermarket.” While Amazon might dispute they were first this is a big step for the grocery sector according to Johnson.  This will be a platform for new electricity at Sedano’s.
The cutting-edge technology will allow customer orders to be placed via online app and carried out by Takeoff’s automated micro-fulfillment center, with the support of Sedano’s associates. Artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled robots will put together full supermarket orders of as many as 60 items in just a few minutes – a fraction of the speed and cost of current manual picking options.
Jose Vicente Aguerrevere, co-founder and CEO of Waltham, Mass.-based Takeoff  stated “Grocers have been dipping their toes in e-groceries for years,”… “Now it’s time to jump in with both feet. Our automated, hyperlocal micro-fulfillment center enables grocers to thrive in e-grocery.”
The new robotic center will service 14 Sedano’s stores in the grocer’s hometown of Miami and offer consumers pickup services. Javier Herran, chief marketing officer for Sedano’s “We are excited to partner with Takeoff at the forefront of this groundbreaking robotics solution,” …“This model gives us the ability to leap into the e-grocery industry, develop a new level of employment opportunities, and continue meeting the needs of our valued consumers by offering an affordable and convenient online service.”
Takeoff’s aim is to develop hyperlocal fulfillment centers in one-eighth the footprint of a average supermarket, using innovative robotics and compact vertical spaces. The company is currently collaborating with five U.S. regional and national retail chains and has several sites in the pipeline to roll out in next year. Ultimately, Takeoff plans to build such centers across the United States, in both urban and suburban areas.
“Sedano’s is a great partner for kicking off our solution, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to work alongside them in providing a turnkey e-grocery solution,” said Takeoff co-founder and President Max Pedro. “We’re robotizing the supermarket – which has never been done before. This is the first of many deployments we are working on, and shoppers will soon see more local grocery stores with micro-fulfillment centers.”
So, just what is your brands new electricity? According to Johnson, “Brand relevance is in part driven with innovation in new food products in combination with new avenues of distribution all of which are the platform for the new electricity.”
Johnson stated “that in my minds-eye the new electricity must be very efficient for the supply and includes such things as fresh foods, developing brands, unique urban clothing, grocerant positioning, Fresh food messaging, autonomous delivery, cashier-less retail, plates, glasses, cash-less payments, digital hand-held marketing.
Foodservice retailers to survive the next generation of retail must embrace the artificial intelligence revolution while simultaneously embracing fresh food that is portable, fresh, with differentiation that is familiar not different.  That will require brands to embrace new fresh food partnerships more now than ever before according to Johnson.
Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced business development. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities or a new menu product segment and brand and menu integration strategy.  Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Johnson, or

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