Sobeys has announced today it plans to launch an online grocery store for Canadians, by partnering up with British firm Ocado, known for its automated grocery warehouse technology.
The partnership will bring a new website for online grocery shopping plus mobile grocery ordering apps, while Ocado’s latest automated warehouse geared towards e-commerce will be built in Toronto. The service will utilize Ocado’s last-mile routing management technology, along with “customer service excellence and punctuality.”
The first Customer Fulfilment Centre (CFC) will be built in the Greater Toronto Area, and will take roughly two years to complete. More CFCs could be built across Canada in the future. Sobeys told CBC News it plans to have online grocery operations ready by the late 2020 fiscal year.
Michael Medline, President & CEO of Sobeys Inc., said in a press release “Sobeys intends to play to win in Canadian online grocery shopping,” adding “We are very excited to bring this best-in-the-world grocery e-commerce experience to Canadian customers.”
Here is a video of Ocado’s operations from 2010:
…and an updated look at its distribution warehouse from 2016:
Here’s a more recent video of the Ocado Smart Platform automated fulfillment solution:
Sobeys has roughly 1500 stores across Canada, under various banners such as Safeway, IGA, Foodland, FreshCo, Thrifty Foods, and Lawton’s Drug Stores, along with over 350 retail fuel locations.