Hero Food E-commerce Savoye

Food e-commerce: which robotic solutions?

The sale of consumer goods online has grown significantly in recent years. Already acclaimed, the trend is continuing to grow and promises to become an enduring feature in household consumption habits. This trend has led major brands to offer different services: Drive-up collection points, Click and Collect, home delivery. These new methods of providing goods requires a type of organization that is different from traditional channels and the major brands in the sector must set up new efficient logistics models all while ensuring they do not pass on any additional cost to the end customer.

The challenges

Faced with this enthusiasm, retailers are having to deal with increasing competition, as each brand is now offering a range of online services. To stand out and meet the growing demands of customers, it is essential to focus on quality of services, lead times, product availability and high flexibility with collection slots.

The aim ? A faultless customer experience, to retain as many versatile and quality-conscious users as possible. These performance levers require appropriate logistics solutions, supported by automation designed for each type of platform.

There are many possible ways to organize the supply chain, that adapt, above all, to the operational constraints of the distribution points: available surface area, picking method, possible pick-up methods, etc. The ambition to gain market share, by densifying the territorial network and multiplying proximity points, must not escape the rational aim of balance between optimizing real estate, logistics, transport and staffing costs. The industrialization of order picking is an essential major variable in this equation. Two main models exist, and may co-exist within the same organization, depending on the site for fulfilling customer orders:

  1. Order picking in a central warehouse, with the setting up of frequent deliveries to distribution sites.
  2. Localized order picking, on a dedicated site or attached to an existing point of sale.
Central warehouse

The central warehouse picks orders that will then be delivered to distribution sites, where they are temporarily stored before home delivery (urban micro-hub) or before being picked up by the customer (solo drive-up collection point or attached to an existing store). The central warehouse may also act as a collection point in the event it is organized as a drive-up collection hub with delivery to satellite drive-up collection points.

Urban micro-hub

Located in urban or semi-urban zones, the urban micro[1]hub is the link between the central warehouse and vehicles carrying out the delivery rounds.

The micro order picking center

Located in an urban or semi-urban zone, this dedicated site either processes orders to be picked up from drive-up collection points, or to be home delivered – and in rare circumstances, both.

Satellite drive-up collection point

Solo or attached to an existing store, orders delivered by the central warehouse or the main drive-up collection point are temporarily stored there before being picked up by customers.

The supermarket

In additional to the classic point-of-sale activities, the store offers localized order picking to offer several collection methods for the end client: drive-up collection point, desk or automatic lockers. The supermarket therefore becomes a local logistics center.

The key points


Food e-commerce inevitably means the sale of fresh and frozen products: strict compliance with storage conditions by temperature zone is essential. The implementation of picking and temporary storage processes for finalized orders must rely on equipment capable of operation in ambient (>8°C/46°F), cold (0°C to 8°C/32°F to 46°F) and freezing temperatures (down to -28°C/-18°F).


The ability to optimize available volume is an essential issue, both for reconverting a site with a limited footprint, and for integrating a system into the reserve of an existing supermarket. To reach the goal of increasing turnover on an equal surface area, the solution must be able to use all the available height of the existing building, while being able to add and stack in dedicated zones depending on temperature.


As in any e-commerce business, responsiveness is a key element in standing out. Being able to accept orders with reduced collection or delivery times requires an efficient and highly-available process. Our X-PTS® with captive shuttles associated with our goods-to-person Pick Stations guarantees minimum picking time along with immediate response time. This performance is also essential for increasing the number of possible collections or deliveries per time slot.


The control system is essential for scheduling and synchronizing picking per temperature zone, depending on the orders as and when they are received and their lead time. In addition, real-time visibility of stocks with a high level of reliability is also essential for triggering supplies as accurately as possible.

Why automate?



Automating your processes will give you the opportunity to stock a large product catalog, and significantly increase operational productivity by improving the ergonomics of workstations.



Finished orders are optimally stored in the automated storage and retrieval system, allowing all parcels to be retrieved in a matter of minutes, regardless of their storage temperature or customer arrival time.



How will customers evolve their shopping behavior in terms of products and purchase frequency? A robust automated solution allows you to eloquently handle peaks of activity or shifts in order profiles, planned or unplanned.

Food e-commerce: which robotic solutions?

CTA Food e-commece Savoye