Image credit: Locai Solutions and Cuhaci & Peterson

A new store-of-the-future concept being introduced at GroceryShop 2019 by Locai may solve a challenge that many grocers face as eGrocery evolves: How to keep up with consumers’ desire for a blended online/offline shopping experience, but avoid getting too far – and unaffordably – out in front.

Today many consumers are looking for an experience that combines the convenience of shopping online when they want/need it with the familiarity and ease of shopping in their regular store. As a result, retailers need a range of different ordering and fulfillment options based on their customers’ readiness for digital grocery shopping and the number of online orders they’ll expect to do in their different stores.

What makes Locai’s version of the store-of-the-future different is that it’s built to drop inside of an existing supermarket – and it comes in two sizes. The concept combines Locai’s digital commerce platform with the capabilities and expertise of Pulse Integration, AutoStore and Cuhaci & Peterson.

A recent briefing call with the Locai team gave us some insight into how the system functions.

  • It fits comfortably into a typical store’s architecture by replacing some of the space formerly dedicated to the center store with an automated storage and retrieval system that increases the productivity of online order selection.
  • The larger 6,300 SF version can handle about 15,600 SKUs, and the smaller 2,750 SF version can handle about 5,300 SKUs.
  • The space freed up by either can be used for other purposes – including making it easier for customers to shop fresh and other perimeter departments.

A grocery store enhanced with this system gives customers the option to order online for home delivery, to order online for pickup (at this or a nearby store in a hub and spoke system) plus enter the store for special products like produce – and even to order items using an app or kiosk while they are shopping in-store and then collect those items quickly at the pick-up station. A typical 30-item order can be assembled and ready for pickup in about five minutes.