How to gain efficiency at grocery in-store picking and packing?

Before we think about how to gain efficiency at grocery in-store picking and packing: Remember that scene from ‚Silicon Valley‘ where she says: ‚I am literally the only person in this entire grocery store who is actually buying stuff for myself‘? It doesn’t really matter if that is reality or just perception in a typical grocery store in San Francisco. Or anywhere else in the United States or the rest of the world. But there seems to be a trend that grocery store chains are working together with companies like Instacart or Shipt. They want to be able to offer a home delivery solution for their groceries. Now let’s think about, is this really the right approach?

What are the benefits of individual in-store picking and packing in grocery stores?

In fact, there is a number of benefits for grocers to cooperate with companies like Instacart or Shipt. By doing so, this allows a premium service level. Especially the fact that service providers like Instacart or Shipt can deliver within very short time, often even within just one hour, is really a premium service level for their customers. And the grocer doesn’t have to bother about building up own logistics or charge delivery fees to their customers.

Grocery in-store individual picking and packing
Grocery in-store individual picking and packing

How does individual in-store picking and packing work?

When you simply observe how so-called shoppers from companies like Instacart or Shipt work, it seems quite obvious, that either the delivery fee to the customer must be rather high or the grocer has to pay at least partially for that service. Just imagine you were shopping yourself. And then think about, how long it would take for yourself to do your grocery shopping. And now imagine you would do the grocery shopping for others.

What needs to be considered for individual in-store picking and packing in grocery stores?

For how many customers would you be able to pick and pack the groceries simultaneously? For one or maybe two? And how many orders could you handle per hour? And if you had more than one order, how often would you have to walk through the grocery store? How many of your shopper-colleagues would be picking and packing groceries for other customers at the same time in the same grocery store? And what do you think would other customers say if they felt disturbed? Would you be paid for waiting at the checkout lane or would the grocer maybe open a dedicated checkout lane for you? How would you carry the groceries to your customer? Think especially about cooled products like fresh meat, fish or dairy products in summertime. Unless you don’t have a refrigerator in your car, could you guarantee that everything really arrives cool and fresh?

Grocery in-store batch picking and packing
Grocery in-store batch picking and packing

What are the impacts of individual picking and packing for grocers?

As mentioned before, it seems to be quite convenient for the owner of the grocery store, that he or she doesn’t really have to bother about bringing a grocery product catalog online, taking pictures and hiring a driver for a van. On the other hand, wouldn’t it be great for the grocery store to keep full control over its branding? And isn’t it even a must for a supermarket brand to have full control over its sales channels, especially to decide at which prices products are being sold through different sales channels? There is nothing wrong with selling grocery products online at a higher price, but wouldn’t it be more transparent if prices were the same both online and in the local grocery store and if necessary there was only an extra delivery fee to charge for the extra service?

Is there a better way of picking and packing groceries?

It seems that for grocery stores there is no way around selling products over their own online shop in addition to their local supermarket. But as the grocery business is and will be a local business and online volumes are still too small to build dedicated warehouse all over the world, in-store picking is currently the right solution. In order to make in-store picking and packing more efficient, it is important to leverage economies of scale. But how can this be done?

SAAS offers a wave picking to gain significant efficiency in the in-store picking and packing process

First of all it is important to combine several orders, both for picking and packing as well as for delivery of the groceries to the customer. To achieve this, SAAS has developed a process that allows to pick very efficiently grocery items. It furthermore allows to do parallel picking in different departments at the same time without really disturbing local supermarket customers. Performance can be increased even further by integrating a dedicated warehouse for very fast-moving products, especially for consumer packaged products (CPGs). Fresh cuts from the service-counters can literally be prepared without extra staff. Thanks to the deep IT-integration of the SAAS solution, it is no longer necessary to go through the checkout lane with the groceries. And last but not least, as customer deliveries are combined, the grocer can operate with cooled vans to make sure that all fresh groceries arrive cool and fresh.

Grocery in-store wave picking and packing
Grocery in-store wave picking and packing

Want to know more about efficient wave in-store grocery picking and packing?

Please contact us. We are more than happy to present our solution to boost efficiency for in-store grocery picking and packing and to have full control over the whole process chain for grocery home delivery.

Key Benefits of the SAAS Food Commerce Cloud wave picking and packing process:

  • maximum efficiency with several hundred picked items per hour and picker
  • parallel picking at freely definable in-store departments
  • flexible definition of n grocery delivery cycles per day
  • customers can choose delivery per time slots or flexible choice with from/to time
  • both same-day and next-days delivery
  • grocer keeps control over branding, prices and promotions
  • deep integration of IT systems
  • online stock levels from POS system in online shop to avoid replacements
  • automatic IT integration of service counters for fresh cuts and deli
  • real-time IT integration of external suppliers (e.g. bakery, butcher, etc.)
  • efficient IT integration of dedicated warehouse for grocery top-sellers
  • no need to wait at the cash register thanks to IT integration of checkout lane
  • minimal impact on customers in local supermarket
  • top quality packing in ideal order of groceries
  • cooled delivery with own vans with efficient rout optimization

Disclaimer and trade marks: Instacart or Shipt are just given as well-known examples in the grocery business. SAAS Software as a Service AG is not affiliated with Instacart or Shipt and trademarks are belonging to the respective owners.

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