There's nothing more annoying than getting your online grocery order delivered later than expected only to discover some of the items are wrong.

As online grocery shopping has increased due to the pandemic, Woolworths is looking for ways to make the process smoother and quicker with less errors.

Starting with a Melbourne store today, Woolworths has rolled out new technology which enables quicker delivery of online orders as well as being potentially more accurate.

The new high-tech systems in the back of the Carrum Downs store will help ship more home deliveries across the southeast of Melbourne. Picture: Leigh Henningham
The new high-tech systems in the back of the Carrum Downs store will help ship more home deliveries across the southeast of Melbourne. Picture: Leigh Henningham

It could also help reduce congestion in the aisles for in-store customers in the area, as Woolies' personal shoppers pick most items from the back without needing to come into the store.

The floor in Carrum Downs can hold up to 10,000 of the most in-demand grocery products so that personal shoppers don't have to go to the shopfront, but fresh fruit and vegetables and meat will continue to be picked from the shopfloor.

Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci labelled it "a potential game-changer".

The automation "dramatically improves the speed, efficiency and accuracy of the picking process" of thousands of online orders which are delivered to customers in southeast Melbourne suburbs each week, including on a same day basis.

The newly built eStore takes up 2400 square metres.
The newly built eStore takes up 2400 square metres.

"It will help us deliver unparalleled speed and accuracy in the online picking process while keeping us close to our customers for faster and more flexible deliveries to the home," Mr Banducci commented.

"This speed and proximity is key to boosting the availability of the same day deliveries more and more of our customers want given their busy lives."

The supermarket giant is the first retailer to deploy the micro-automation technology in Australia which comes as online orders have more than doubled in Victoria this year for the supermarket.

"The continued growth in online grocery gives us an opportunity to reimagine what the future of our stores will look like," Mr Banducci said.

Woolworths has seen online orders double in Victoria in 2020 amid the pandemic. Picture: Ian Currie/NCA NewsWire
Woolworths has seen online orders double in Victoria in 2020 amid the pandemic. Picture: Ian Currie/NCA NewsWire

"As customer expectations continue to rise, we're investing in new technology to keep pace with the growth and focusing on building an ever more convenient online offer."

The 2400sq m "eStore" has been built at the back of its existing Carrum Downs supermarket in Melbourne's southeast to keep up with online order demand in the area.

The new tech helps dispatch five times the online order volumes of a standard Woolworths store.

Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said the new technology could be ‘a potential game changer’. Picture: Dan Peled/NCA NewsWire
Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said the new technology could be ‘a potential game changer’. Picture: Dan Peled/NCA NewsWire

It will also create more jobs, with Woolworths already hiring around 50 new online team members and 100 more to come on-board as the site ramps up to full capacity in the months ahead.

The e-commerce floor uses "state-of-the-art technology" to sort and move products from automated storage units directly to team members hand picking customer orders, Woolworths said.

Woolworths said the Carrum Downs eStore will service a key growth corridor in Melbourne and help Woolworths keep pace with customer demand.

Supermarkets have increased hygiene and safety precautions in all stores. Picture: David Geraghty/NCA NewsWire
Supermarkets have increased hygiene and safety precautions in all stores. Picture: David Geraghty/NCA NewsWire

Woolworths first announced its partnership with Takeoff, the company that has produced the technology, in August 2019.

Carrum Downs is one of three initial Woolworths Group sites to trial the capability in 2020, with others deployed in Auckland and Christchurch, New Zealand.

Originally published as Woolies new shopping 'game-changer'


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