Wakefern is piloting space-saving online grocery store automation

Wakefern Food Corp. is considering in-store automation to improve online grocery order fulfillment.

A Kingston, NY supermarket under the ShopRite retail cooperative banner is testing the Kardex Remstar Shuttle XP vertical lift module (VLM) storage solution, Wakefern said Wednesday. The compact automated storage and retrieval system is designed to provide high capacity storage in small spaces.

According to Switzerland-based Wakefern and Kardex, ShopRite is the second US grocery store to use the Kardex Remstar Shuttle XP vertical system.

“We are delighted to use the Kardex Remstar Shuttle XP as another tool to improve online shopping service,” said Steve Henig, director of customer service at Wakefern, in a statement. “Our ShopRite from Home online shopping service is one of the fastest growing parts of our business, and we are always looking for ways to streamline the online shopping process for our customers. “

ShopRite of Kingston, owned and operated by ShopRite Supermarkets Inc., a member of Wakefern, is testing the e-commerce storage solution in its ShopRite from Home department. Grocery orders are stored in bins on trays inside the Shuttle XP, and the unit automatically delivers bins during an order barcode scan when customers arrive at the store for pickup. The system can also deliver orders when a customer checks in for curbside pickup, the companies said.

Kardex noted that the Shuttle XP increases a store’s storage capacity fivefold and reduces order errors and customer wait times. The system also expands bin capacity for stores with limited space for processing grocery orders online.

“The Shuttle XP is a great solution for managing online orders in a small area,” said Mark Dunaway, president of North America operations for Kardex Remstar, which has a US office in Westbrook, Maine. “Our collaboration with ShopRite and Wakefern is a good example of how the use of automation and technology can deliver an enhanced customer experience. ”

On the automation front, Wakefern has also deployed robotics-driven Micro Execution Centers (MFCs) powered by Takeoff Technologies, based in Waltham, Mass., At three ShopRite locations in New Jersey to manage the increase the volume of online grocery orders and accelerate fulfillment. The first Takeoff MFC launched in 2019 at a ShopRite in Clifton (Inserra Supermarkets), followed by store installations in Egg Harbor (Village Super Market) and Flemington (ShopRite of Hunterdon County).

Wakefern’s retail network, based in Keasbey, New Jersey, includes 362 supermarkets in total under the ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, Dearborn Market, Gourmet Garage and Fairway Market banners in New Jersey, New Jersey. York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. ShopRite’s nearly 280 stores are located in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware and Maryland.

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