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Sedano’s, the 34-store, Florida-based Hispanic grocery store chain, has signed a deal with a company called Takeoff Technologies to build “the world's first robotic supermarket.”

Essentially, the ”robotic supermarket” is a dedicated fulfillment center that will serve the online needs of 14 Sedano’s stores in the Miami market, and offer pickup services at those stores.

According to the announcement, “This groundbreaking technology is expected to launch in the upcoming month, bringing innovative automation and transforming eGrocery economics. Customer orders will be placed via an online app and carried out by Takeoff's automated Micro-Fulfillment Center, with the support of Sedano's employees. AI-enabled robots assemble full supermarket orders of up to 60 items in just a few minutes – a fraction of the speed and cost of current manual picking options.”

Javier Herran, Sedano’s chief marketing officer, says that “this model gives us the ability to leap into the eGrocery industry, develop a new level of employment opportunities and continue meeting the needs of our valued consumers by offering an affordable and convenient online service.”

The story says that “Takeoff's objective is to develop hyperlocal fulfillment centers that have one-eighth the footprint of a typical supermarket thanks to innovative robotics and compact vertical spaces. Takeoff is currently working with five regional and national retail chains in the US and have several sites in development to deploy in 2019.”
KC's View:
The idea that an automated, dedicated fulfillment center can serve more than a dozen stores in less than 10 percent of the space that it would require to build an actual store strikes me as entirely sensible, and not even that radical … though Sedano’s certainly deserves credit for thinking in a non-traditional way about how to provide e-commerce services to its shoppers.