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AutoStore Aims to Redefine Retail With Micro-Fulfillment

Tim Duket | 08 January 2020

AutoStore, one of the leading automated storage and retrieval systems available to warehouses, distribution centers, and manufacturing facilities, continues to expand their offerings and introduce new ideas to the market. The grid-based storage system came on the scene in 2000 and presented a new and unique approach to product storage and delivery. It quickly garnered popularity thanks to the storage density, modularity, and reliability that the system enables. Today, there are hundreds of systems with thousands of robots fulfilling orders in facilities around the world.

Now, AutoStore is redefining retail and customer service with an exciting new micro-fulfillment campaign and design concepts that will help retailers enhance a customer’s in-store experience.

Imagine a retail space within an urban environment that contains an in-store AutoStore. Such a system would not only serve as a unique showpiece, but would also enable features and offerings that are focused on enhancing end customer experience, such as:

  • Flexibility:  Customers can pre-order what they want and have it ready for them when they want it, either in-store, curbside, or delivered to their home
  • Same-Day-Delivery:  Speedy order fulfillment and last-mile delivery become simpler and more reliable with strategically-located order fulfillment systems in urban environments
  • 24/7 Service:  Retail spaces enhanced with AutoStore can enable 24/7 order pickup from a designated, self-service pickup area
  • One-Stop-Shop:  In a shopping mall setting, one AutoStore grid can be used across multiple retailers to give shoppers access to a wider variety of products with a single transaction

In addition to these customer-facing benefits, retailers would also benefit from the typical strengths of the AutoStore system, including:

  • Modularity:  Retailers can take advantage of AutoStore’s ‘building block’ structure and custom-fit the system to their exact space requirements
  • Storage Density:  Use less floorspace for storage and allow the retail space to focus on a fully-optimized customer experience
  • Reliability:  AutoStore offers one of the most reliable automated storage and retrieval systems on the market, with no single point of failure and first-rate uptimes
  • Go Green:  With AutoStore, distributors and retailers are investing in a high-efficiency, low-energy solution; ten robots use the same amount of energy as a vacuum cleaner

Clearly, applying the AutoStore system to support micro-fulfillment operations yields numerous benefits and reduces the gap between online and in-store customer ordering experiences. It can be applied to both industries that are prominent in the ecommerce space, such as apparel, accessories, and consumer electronics, as well as verticals with limited or only recent focus in electronic ordering, such as grocery fulfillment.

In recent years, selling points such as same-day delivery, in-store pickup, and 24/7 availability have been differentiators for retailers to excel in their markets. However, these offerings are becoming the standard expectation across all industries, especially within densely-populated areas and city centers. AutoStore has succeeded as one of the most flexible and modular, yet highly-automated, technologies to support order fulfillment. As such, it is well-suited to be the cornerstone of micro-fulfillment operations for companies looking to support market demands with an enhanced customer experience.

Bastian Solutions has partnered with AutoStore to deliver many advanced, turnkey automation systems and is excited to continue enhancing retailers’ order fulfillment strategies alongside this micro-fulfillment campaign. To learn more about the AutoStore system, this exciting new campaign, and what it could mean for your operations, contact one of our engineering experts today!

Author: Tim Duket

Tim is a Senior Engineering Consultant working out of Bastian Solutions’ Indianapolis Headquarters. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. As part of Bastian Consulting, Tim supports clients with design engineering as well as system validation through simulation modeling, spanning everything from small process improvement initiatives up to highly-automated facility design.


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