News & Analysis

Buy Online and a Robot will Drop it off Later

With the first-ever public-facing technology from AutoStore, shoppers can pick up their online purchases quickly with the help of robots

How would you like to order something on an eCommerce website and then wait for a robot to drop off the product at your doorstep? Well! This remains science fiction for now, but AutoStore, a warehouse robot tech company, has created a solution where users can buy and then pick up the product from designated locations. 


The latest innovation from AutoStore is called PickUpPort, a public facing port that allows customers to buy online and get their orders from the AutoStore System. It offers an intuitive tech that is easy to implement and train. The new system has been launched in Singapore and would be ready for a global market from November 15. Here’s how it works: 


When a customer places an order and chooses in-store pickup, a Controller function asks the AutoStore Robot to pick the Bins that contain the products. The warehouse operator consolidates the order, and the order is stored in the AutoStore System. When the customer arrives at the store, a Robot will bring the Bin with the right products to the PickUpPort.


“It’s important for us to help retailers stay ahead in an ever-changing industry. With the new PickUpPort, retailers can offer a hassle-free pick-up option in-store, and customers can see how Robots pick, organize, and store items. When retailers adopt this technology, their customers get even more flexibility and freedom,” says Carlos Fernández, Chief Product Officer at AutoStore.


The shopping landscape in Asia Pacific has changed significantly over the last two years. Retailers are gradually shifting from brick-and-mortar businesses to online businesses. With the surge of digital services in the region, Asia Pacific has become the leader in the e-commerce market. 


In fact, the Asia Pacific e-commerce market is expected to grow with a CAGR of 10.24 percent from 2022 to 2027. The rising e-commerce industry is introducing new buying habits, one of which is the Buy Online, Pickup In-Store (BOPIS) trend. As retailers adapt to the changing consumers’ buying behaviors, the BOPIS trend has become a widely recognised strategy used in the e-commerce and retail industry. According to Research and Markets, countries in the Asia Pacific region are expected to witness a high growth rate in the BOPIS market.


“We have seen how the rapid rise of the e-commerce market in Asia Pacific created a new mindset among customers. At the same time, we are witnessing how the growing e-commerce market has introduced new sets of challenges for retailers. At AutoStore, it is crucial that we assist and ensure retailers are on the right side of the current market trends, in this case, the BOPIS trend,” says Philipp Schitter, Vice President Business Development, APAC, AutoStore. 


Attractive alternative to “last mile”


”The new technology is a direct response to the evolving demand for greater efficiency in the way customers receive products. Adding public-facing ports to stores can drive additional in-store purchases and enable retailers to provide a frictionless omnichannel shopping experience for customers.


“We are constantly piloting and rolling out new technology. People want more flexibility, and the buy-online-pickup-in-store trend is quickly becoming an attractive alternative to “last-mile” delivery, since it’s simple, fast and offers a lower carbon footprint,” says Fernández.


The technology has a user-friendly design. As this is the first public-facing Port from AutoStore, multiple safety measures were taken into account during product development. The PickUpPort is equipped with a warning label, safety bar, a damper, and stoppers. The PickUpPort is always locked while waiting for the Bin to arrive at the Port whereby an LED lamp signals that it is ready to be opened, says Fernández.

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