Countdown unveils faster tech to meet grocery shoppers' demands

By Te Ao - Māori News

Online grocery shopping has taken the next step in New Zealand, with new technology that can move and sort products directly to personal shoppers in Countdown's Penrose, Tāmaki Makaurau eStore.

Micro-fulfilment centres are automated storage units that can hold over 10,000 grocery products that are in high demand, which allows shoppers to access these products with ease without having to walk around the aisles. Fresh food and perishables such as fruit, deli, bakery, vegetables and meat will continue to be hand-selected to order.

Countdown acting managing director Sally Copeland says micro-fulfilment technology will help Countdown pull together packaged goods in minutes, "saving our personal shoppers precious time to select quality fresh produce, meat and other perishable items. 

"Our expert personal shoppers are trained to shop as carefully as they would when shopping for their own families, and now they’ll be able to serve twice as many customers with that same attention to detail.

Copeland says the technology is designed to help deliver unparalleled speed and accuracy, and also keep Countdown close to its customers for faster and more flexible home deliveries. 

Same-day deliveries

"This speed is key to increasing the availability of same-day deliveries that more and more of our customers want,” says Sally Copland.

The new technology marks the completion of New Zealand's first eStore, which rushed to open in April 2020 to help meet the demand caused by the first Covid-19 lockdown. And, with Auckland back into a Level 3 lockdown, the timing could not be better.

The eStore is open 24/7 and has completed more than 7,500 orders every since it opened due to a carefully designed layout based on sales data. The new micro-fulfilment centre will take that capacity and double it. 

Countdown Moorhouse in Christchurch is one of two eStores also set to trial the technology when it opens later this month.

“Plans for our eStore were in place well before last year’s lockdown but when Covid-19 reached Aotearoa it became critical for us to speed up the timeline,” Copland says.