Australia's largest supermarket and grocery chain
Woolworths have opened its first fully-dedicated online 'dark retail' supermarket.
Located in the inner Sydney suburb of Mascot, the 'dark stores', also known as 'shadow warehouses,' allows Woolworths to fulfil online orders without customer interference.
The warehouses have been designed to allow 'personal shoppers' to select customers' orders quicker without having to negotiate with customers and check-outs.
The Sydney Morning Herald recently reported that as online grocery shopping becomes increasingly popular, Woolworths is considering opening dedicated warehouses in each of its major markets.
Major international retailers, including Tesco, Sainsbury's and Waitrose have operated 'dark stores' for several years which according to consultancy firm AT Kearney, can be almost three times more efficient than traditional supermarkets.
Woolworths’ general manager of multi-channel retail, Kate Langford, told SMH that early results from the Mascot store were encouraging.
“The advantage for our online shopper is the range in store is designed according to their needs – that means we get orders to customers faster,” Ms Langford said.
“We have more flexibility to be able to pick and deliver customers’ orders throughout the day – in a busy store environment we are somewhat limited to when we can pick our online orders,” she said.