Rewe and Edeka are both making progress with strengthening their online businesses.
Rewe's semi-automated Food Fulfillment Centre
Rewe opened a new Food Fulfillment Centre (FFC) in Cologne last year and has concluded that the initial phase has been successful. Automated shuttle technology allows products from six different cooling zones to arrive together at the picking station. Exit gates have been specially developed for efficient loading and delivery vehicles are temperature controlled, ensuring the quality of products is maintained.
By automating some of the picking process, Rewe is able to process large volumes more efficiently and this helps with the fulfillment of same-day orders, an initiative the retailer recently introduced. The new facility also helps Rewe to improve the quality of its online service, with higher availability and a wider range of products. The assortment of the FFC includes more than 20,000 items and the FFC has been flexibly designed for the future, so expansion and adjustments can occur as needed.
Edeka looking to expand its partnership with Picnic
Edeka recently expanded its stake in Picnic from 20% to 35%, and it is looking to increase this further. Picnic is an online only grocery retailer which originated in the Netherlands and has been expanding in Germany, starting in Düsseldorf and later expanding to the North Rhine-Westphalia. Edeka is hoping to roll out activities with Picnic to its regional cooperatives, with an international role in Picnic also an option for the retailer.
Online is the fastest growing channel in the market
Despite the relatively slow take up of online grocery shopping in Germany, online growth is accelerating and it is forecast to be the fastest growing channel over the next five years. With leading retailers Edeka and Rewe increasingly investing in this space, online services will continue to improve. Focusing on meeting customers needs will be necessary in order for retailers to advance their positions in the online channel.
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