Woolworths has started construction on its first Queensland eStore to boost home delivery capacity and service levels across the Sunshine Coast.
Located at the rear of Woolworths Maroochydore (Big Top), the 1,250sqm space will use micro-fulfillment technology to sort and move products from automated storage units to team members hand picking online orders.
These units can hold up to 10,000 of the most in-demand grocery products, while fresh fruit and vegetables and meat will continue to be picked from the shopfloor.
The technology dramatically improves the speed, efficiency and accuracy of the picking process.
Once the site is operational in the middle of 2021, it will allow thousands of extra online orders to be delivered to Sunshine Coast customers each week, including more on a same day basis.
In a welcome boost for local jobs, Woolworths will appoint around 160 new online team members to help run the eStore. Woolworths Director of eCommerce, Annette Karantoni said:
“Rapid growth in online grocery demand has given us an opportunity to reimagine the role of our stores in our e-commerce offering.
“We’re investing millions in new e-commerce infrastructure to help keep pace with rising customer expectations and build an ever more convenient online offer. “
This technology will help our team of personal shoppers pick orders with greater speed and accuracy, while keeping us close to our Sunshine Coast customers for faster and more flexible deliveries to the home.
“Importantly, the eStore layout also helps reduce congestion in the aisles for our in-store customers, as our personal shoppers pick most items in the back of house.”
The Maroochydore eStore will service home delivery orders spanning from Coolum Beach to Wurtulla.
Evolve Constructions has been appointed as the builder and the project is expected to create up to 70 jobs throughout the construction.
Woolworths’ online sales increased by 100 per cent year on year between July and September 2020 and now account for eight per cent of total supermarket sales.
Woolworths first announced its partnership with Takeoff Technologies in August 2019. Maroochydore is one of four initial Woolworths Group sites to trial the capability.
The first site launched in Carrum Downs, Victoria in October 2020. The other two sites are in New Zealand.