Woolworths opens first online-only ‘dark’ store

 In Australia, NewZealand, Woolworths
It looks like a normal supermarket, complete with fruit and vegetables, meat and freshly baked bread, but there’s one thing missing from Woolworths’ newest store – the customers.
Woolworths has opened its first ­dedicated online store at Mascot, in the heart of the biggest online retail market in Australia.
Australia’s largest retailer currently picks products to fulfil online grocery orders from supermarkets closest to online shoppers’ homes.
But, as online grocery shopping becomes increasingly popular, Woolworths is considering opening ­dedicated online stores – also known as dark stores or “shadow warehouses” – in each of its major markets.
According to consulting firm AT Kearney, which has analysed dark stores operated by retailers such as Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury and Waitrose, dedicated online fulfilment stores can be almost three times more efficient than traditional supermarkets.
Retailers can fulfil online orders faster because dark stores are laid out for optimal picking and pickers or “personal shoppers” can whirl their trolleys around night and day, without having to navigate around slow-moving customers, promotions and check­out queues.  Sydney Morning Herald – Read more…

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