Instacart to launch automated fulfillment service

Grocery delivery service signs a multi-year partnership with tech company Fabric

Instacart is going all in on automation by teaming up with a tech company called Fabric to build robotic fulfillment centres across the Canada and the U.S.

Instacart has signed a multi-year deal with Fabric to pair its software and robotics with Instacart technology and shoppers to power a fulfillment process within dedicated warehouses and existing retailer locations.

The process will aim to marry the speed of robotics with the attention to detail from Instacart shoppers, enabling faster fulfillment of customers’ full grocery shop including packaged goods, household essentials, produce and frozen food.

Once orders are packed, Instacart shoppers will deliver orders to customers' doors or place them in staging areas for curbside pickup. Instacart plans to kick off early-stage concept pilots with grocery retail partners over the coming year.

"Our next-gen fulfillment initiative combines our robust technology suite and dedicated community of shoppers with robotics solutions to give retailers even more innovative ways to compete and serve their customers online," said Mark Schaaf, chief technology officer, Instacart, in a press release. "Our next-gen fulfillment work will also help reduce some of the things that make in-store shopping cumbersome for Instacart shoppers, like crowded store aisles, out of stock items and long checkout lines."

Neither company indicated how many dedicated facilities would open, over what time frame, their approximate size, or when a pilot location might become operational. 

“Everything about our micro-fulfillment solution has been built for speed, efficiency, and elasticity to meet today’s on-demand requirements. This partnership with Instacart is another validation that Fabric’s tech and operations are best-fit to serve retailers’ next-gen fulfillment needs,'' said Elram Goren, CEO and co-founder of Fabric. 

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