In-Store Order Picking: E-Grocery within Grocery

Blog  •  02.01.24
In-Store Order Picking: E-Grocery within Grocery


The landscape of grocery shopping has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years, with the rise of e-grocery platforms offering customers the convenience of ordering their essentials online. Among the various models that have emerged, one particularly interesting approach is the "In-Store Order Picking" model. Unlike traditional e-grocers with separate warehouses, this model leverages existing physical grocery stores for fulfilling online orders. Let's delve into the dynamics of this business model and explore why it serves as a pragmatic solution for grocers looking to embrace the digital realm without significant investments in separate distribution centers.

The Essence of In-Store Order Picking

At its core, the In-Store Order Picking model seamlessly integrates the online and offline aspects of the grocery business. When a customer places an order through the e-grocery platform, the staff within the physical store takes on the role of order fulfillment. This means navigating the aisles, picking items directly from the shelves, and preparing them for delivery or customer pickup.

Planogram of the store floor with heatmap

Advantages of the In-Store Order Picking Model

  1. Cost-Effectiveness:

    • One of the primary advantages of this model is its cost-effectiveness. By utilizing existing store infrastructure, grocers can avoid substantial investments in establishing separate warehouses.
  2. Optimal Use of Resources:

    • The In-Store Order Picking model maximizes the use of existing resources, such as staff and inventory. The same workforce that manages in-store operations can seamlessly extend their responsibilities to fulfill online orders.
  3. Faster Delivery Times:

    • With the products already housed in the physical store, the time required for order picking is significantly reduced. This leads to faster delivery times, a crucial factor in the highly competitive e-grocery market.
  4. Enhanced Customer Experience:

    • Customers often appreciate the ability to order online while still benefiting from the quality and freshness associated with in-store shopping. The familiarity of the physical store can enhance trust and customer loyalty.
  5. Flexibility in Scaling:

    • For grocers looking to test the waters of e-commerce without committing to large-scale infrastructure changes, the In-Store Order Picking model offers flexibility. It allows businesses to gauge the demand for online services before considering more substantial investments.

Yango Tech's Shelf Collection System Uses Picker App to collect orders in store

Challenges and Solutions

While the In-Store Order Picking model presents numerous advantages, it's not without its challenges. Managing the logistics of both in-store and online operations requires careful coordination. Inventory management systems, staff training, and technology integration become critical components to ensure a smooth and efficient process.

Implementing robust technology solutions, such as barcode scanning and inventory management systems, can address many of these challenges. These tools not only streamline the order picking process but also provide valuable insights into inventory levels, allowing grocers to optimize their stock efficiently.

Portable Data Terminal: A Technological Catalyst

To further enhance the efficiency of the In-Store Order Picking model, grocers can deploy Portable Data Terminals (PDTs). These handheld devices play a crucial role in overcoming challenges associated with order picking in a dual in-store and online environment.

  1. Real-Time Inventory Management:

    • PDTs equipped with barcode scanning capabilities enable real-time tracking of inventory levels. Staff can efficiently update the system as items are picked, ensuring accurate and up-to-date information.
  2. Order Accuracy and Precision:

    • The use of PDTs minimizes the chances of errors in order fulfillment. With instant access to product information and order details, staff can precisely pick the required items, reducing the likelihood of mistakes.
  3. Task Allocation and Workforce Productivity:

    • PDTs facilitate efficient task allocation, guiding staff members to the exact location of items on the shelves. This optimizes workforce productivity, ensuring that each team member is engaged in the most effective manner.
  4. Integration with Existing Systems:

    • These terminals seamlessly integrate with existing inventory and order management systems. This compatibility ensures a smooth transition between in-store and online operations, creating a unified and cohesive workflow.
  5. Enhanced Customer Service:

    • With PDTs, staff can quickly respond to customer inquiries regarding product availability, order status, and more. This enhances the overall customer service experience, contributing to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Portable Data Terminal - Picker App by Yango Tech

Smart Cameras and Heatmaps: Revolutionizing In-Store Analytics

In the pursuit of optimal efficiency, grocers are turning to smart camera technology to gain valuable insights into customer behavior, planogram compliance rates, and product availability. Smart cameras, strategically placed throughout the store, can capture and analyze data to create heatmaps.

  1. Planogram Compliance Rates:

    • Smart cameras track customer movements, revealing patterns and preferences. By analyzing these heatmaps, grocers can assess the effectiveness of their planograms—how well products are placed on shelves to maximize visibility and appeal. This data empowers retailers to make informed adjustments, ensuring planogram compliance and enhancing the overall shopping experience.
  2. Product Availability:

    • Heatmaps generated by smart cameras also provide real-time visibility into product availability. By monitoring which areas of the store experience higher customer traffic and which products are frequently selected, grocers can optimize shelf stocking strategies. This proactive approach minimizes instances of stockouts, thereby enhancing customer satisfaction and maximizing sales potential.
  3. Foot Traffic Analysis:

    • Smart cameras analyze foot traffic patterns, helping grocers identify high-traffic zones within the store. This information is invaluable for strategic product placement, promotional displays, and overall store layout optimization.
  4. Customer Engagement Insights:

    • Heatmaps can highlight areas where customers spend more time, indicating interest in specific product categories. This data allows grocers to tailor their marketing strategies, improve product visibility, and enhance overall customer engagement.

Example of real-time insights in Yango Tech's AI Shelf Monitoring

Conclusion - The Future of E-Grocery within Grocery

As the demand for online grocery shopping continues to grow, the In-Store Order Picking model, fortified by Portable Data Terminals and smart camera analytics, stands as a testament to the adaptability and resilience of traditional grocery stores. It offers a pragmatic entry point for grocers into the digital sphere, aligning with shifting consumer preferences while maintaining the established brick-and-mortar presence.