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Wakefern opens robotics-driven warehouse for online grocery

Wakefern opens robotics-driven warehouse for online grocery

Partnership with Takeoff Technologies to support ShopRite from Home service

Wakefern Food Corp. has partnered with Takeoff Technologies to open an automated warehouse to fulfill online grocery orders for ShopRite supermarkets.

Waltham, Mass.-based Takeoff said Tuesday that the new micro-fulfillment center (MFC), located in Clifton, N.J., will serve selected ShopRite stores in North Jersey and New York operated by Wakefern member Inserra Supermarkets.

A retailer-owned grocery cooperative, Keasbey, N.J.-based Wakefern offers members online grocery pickup and delivery through the ShopRite from Home service, now available at most ShopRite stores.

“We are excited to partner with Takeoff Technologies to see how their hyperlocal automation technology will benefit our cooperative, retail members and shoppers,” Steve Henig, vice president of digital commerce and analytics at Wakefern, said in a statement. “We are really proud of our e-grocery shopping platform, ShopRite from Home, and believe this partnership will enhance our online shopping service.”

Takeoff’s technology uses advanced robotics in the fulfillment center to boost efficiency and get online orders to customers more quickly. The online grocery automation startup said orders of up to 60 grocery items can be assembled in minutes. For ShopRite customers, the technology change will be seamless as they continue to place orders through ShopRite from Home.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Wakefern to help make their e-grocery service even better,” said Jose Aguerrevere, co-founder and CEO of Takeoff. “Our hyperlocal approach and technology results in lower packaging costs and high last-mile efficiency.”

Takeoff said it has an agreement with Wakefern to open more automated MFCs to serve its members. According to the tech company, the partnership gives Wakefern a scalable model to expand online grocery capabilities for its members.

Overall, Wakefern’s 50 members independently own and operate 353 supermarkets under the ShopRite, The Fresh Grocer, Price Rite Marketplace and Dearborn Market banners in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Virginia. Mahwah, N.J.-based Inserra owns and operates 23 ShopRites in New Jersey and New York and two Price Rites in New Jersey.

Acting as a hub, Takeoff’s hyperlocal fulfillment centers provide a lower cost-to-serve by covering the expense of order assembly and last-mile delivery/pickup. On the front end, retailers can use their existing e-commerce platform or Takeoff’s customized user interface for taking online grocery orders. Retailers, too, can use Takeoff’s solution to leverage underutilized real estate and turn existing stores into micro distribution centers. For the robotics technology, Takeoff has an exclusive agreement with Knapp, a global provider of automated warehouse solutions.

“Our e-grocery automation is a turnkey, scalable solution that uses robotics to unlock convenience for shoppers without the need to charge extra fees,” added Max Pedro, co-founder and president of Takeoff. “It’s a win-win for grocers and shoppers.”

Other grocery retailers using Takeoff’s MFC solution include Ahold Delhaize USA (through its Stop & Shop and Peapod units), Albertsons Cos. and Sedano’s Supermarkets.

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