Amazon’s new grocery stores to feature hidden robotic “microfulfillment” areas for online orders
Amazon is planning to launch a new chain of grocery stores complete with high-tech automated “microfulfillment” centres to streamline online-order picking.
Online orders will be fulfilled by robots in a dedicated hidden space on the perimeter of its new chain of grocery stores, according to HNGRY.
In October, The Wall Street Journal revealed that Amazon was planning to launch a new chain of physical grocery stores separate from its Amazon Go format and has signed more than a dozen leases in the Los Angeles area as part of the project.
According to floor plans seen by HNGRY for a new 35,500sq ft store in the city’s Woodland Hills area, around 20 per cent of the floor space will be a hidden small-scale version of the retail store where robots will work to fulfill up to 12 online orders per minute.
Amazon is reportedly working with Dematic, which provided a similar system to US discounter Meijer, to build this automated system in the 7,200sq ft microfulfillment centre on the side of the Woodland Hills store.
Robots will be used to pick ambient items within this room-temperature microfulfillment space which will house everything from alcohol to packaged food, while fresh items like meat and dairy will be picked manually by staff from dedicated walk in refrigerators.
It is expected that Amazon will use the same AI system it utilises in its centralised warehouses to stock items it knows sell well in certain areas.
Should Amazon install these automated microfulfillment areas in all of its upcoming grocery stores as expected, this technology could help dramatically improve last mile online grocery delivery times.