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Sobeys goes live with curbside in Nova Scotia

Sobeys is pushing ahead with the rollout of its Voilà online grocery service with the debut of curbside pickup service in Nova Scotia.

Launched yesterday at three Sobeys supermarkets in the province, the new service — dubbed Voilà by Sobeys Curbside Pickup — allows customers to shop online at or via the Voilà mobile app and choose a one-hour window for pickup. Sobeys personal shoppers pick and pack orders and then, upon customers’ arrival at the store, load the groceries directly to their vehicle, providing a contactless experience.

The Voilà personal shoppers use handheld devices to assemble orders with efficiency and accuracy, focusing on freshness and safety, Sobeys noted. The service also offers customers a freshness guarantee and affordable prices on products, with no hidden fees, the Stellarton, Nova Scotia-based retailer added.

“This is just another way we are bringing online grocery to more Canadians faster,” commented Sarah Joyce, senior vice president of e-commerce at Sobeys parent Empire Company Ltd. “Voilà by Sobeys Curbside Pickup combines our industry-leading online shopping experience with a seamless curbside pickup service. Our teammates are excited and ready to bring this best-in-class service to customers in our home province, building on our strong legacy as the hometown grocer of Atlantic Canada.”

Sobeys supermarkets offering the service in Nova Scotia are located in New Glasgow, Halifax and Dartmouth. Plans call for Sobeys to expand Voilà Curbside Pickup to stores across Canada over the next few years.

Voilà online grocery delivery launched in June to customers in the greater Toronto area, supported by an Ocado automated customer fulfillment center (CFC) in Vaughan, Ontario. Empire said it’s expediting plans to build three more Ocado-powered CFCs. They include a second CFC in Montreal to support the Voilà par IGA home delivery service in Ottawa and cities in Quebec, which is expected to go into operation in early 2022. Two more CFCs are slated to be constructed in Western Canada.

Empire started testing Ocado’s store-pick technology for curbside pickup service in Nova Scotia last month. The system is designed to serve customers in areas where the CFCs don’t deliver, or aren’t yet built.

With the four Ocado CFCs, Empire expects to be able to serve about 75% of Canadian households, or approximately 90% of Canadians’ grocery spend. The effort is a linchpin of Project Horizon, a new three-year strategy by Empire to boost market share and “win Canadian grocery e-commerce.”

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