Sobeys has launched its Voilà by Sobeys grocery ecommerce service in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
Partnership with Ocado
Sobeys has partnered with UK-based Ocado to launch this service. It has built a Customer Fulfilment Centre (CFC) adjacent to its existing automated distribution centre in Vaughan, Ontario, optimising Ocado’s solution. Robots are used to assemble orders, with Voilà associates delivering orders directly to customers’ homes via a fleet of vans.
Ecommerce demand at 2023 levels
The retailer has accelerated the launch of this service following an unprecedented increase in demand for online shopping in Canada due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this month, the retailer highlighted the strong growth its existing ecommerce services in British Columbia and Quebec had experienced in Q4. With penetration levels at where the company expected them to be in three years’ time, it is also looking at other opportunities to accelerate its channel plans.
Broad range of products beyond the core Sobeys offer
Voilà by Sobeys is a new brand for the retailer, which also features the “Your groceries delivered. Just like that.” tag line. Sobeys will offer around 39,000 products through the service, which it will build gradually over the next few months. This will include ranges from Farm Boy, the grocery business it acquired at the end of 2018, and Well.ca. It believes that the cost and customer experience advantages of its model, along with Ocado’s software platform, will enable it to gain channel share, despite its later entry into the GTA market. The new website to support the service emphasises its freshness credentials, one-hour delivery windows and “no hidden fees.”
Second automated fulfilment centre to be built in Montreal
Sobeys is also developing a second customer fulfillment centre in Pointe-Claire, Montreal. Currently the retailer uses a store pick model from its IGA stores. This will remain operational until the new fulfillment centre comes on stream, expected in 2021.
Retail Analysis weekly newsletter