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Posted: 2020-07-20 20:22:18

From farm to phone: A paradigm shift in grocery

Central Fulfillment Centers for grocery delivery are far more efficient than shoppers picking from retail aisles

From Walter Thompson at eCommerce – TechCrunch
Originally published 2020 07 20
The most widely known approach comes from Instacart, which relies on hundreds of thousands of human shoppers fulfilling customers’ online grocery orders by shopping side-by-side with regular brick-and-mortar customers. The model clearly works for Instacart, which is valued at nearly $14 billion after its latest raise. However, this model is far from ideal. Even pre-COVID, shoppers were known to crowd out regular customers, not to mention introduce high delivery costs and the element of human error to the fulfillment process. One obvious solution has become the central fulfillment center, or CFC. CFCs are large, standalone warehouses — often serving distinct geographies — that can supply both brick-and-mortar stores and online grocery deliveries. As order volumes rise and consumers demand faster and faster delivery times, innovation has already been infused into the CFC model.
The most widely known approach comes from Instacart, which relies on hundreds of thousands of human shoppers fulfilling customers’ online grocery orders by shopping side-by-side with regular brick-and-mortar customers. The model clearly works for Instacart, which is valued at nearly $14 billion after its latest raise. However, this model is far from ideal. Even pre-COVID, shoppers were known to crowd out regular customers, not to mention introduce high delivery costs and the element of human error to the fulfillment process. One obvious solution has become the central fulfillment center, or CFC. CFCs are large, standalone warehouses — often serving distinct geographies — that can supply both brick-and-mortar stores and online grocery deliveries. As order volumes rise and consumers demand faster and faster delivery times, innovation has already been infused into the CFC model.
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