Supermarket giant Woolworths’ plan for first drive-through store in Rose Bay

With online shopping on the rise, Woolworths plans to shake up the art of grocery shopping forever.

Woolworths plans to open its first drive-through store in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, a move that will take the Australian retail world by storm.

The supermarket giant has confirmed its move to and has submitted plans to convert a Caltex gas station on Old South Road in Rose Bay into an exclusive “direct to boat” supermarket where customers can pick up their groceries online, as part of a $560,000 proposed redevelopment.

According to the development application filed with Woollahra City Council, there will be no retail stores on the Rose Bay site.

The location instead becomes a station where shoppers can place orders online and then pick them up.

Customers then wait for Woolworths staff to deliver their orders in the trunk of their car, so they don’t have to queue at the checkout or get lost in shopping aisles.

It is understood that up to 100 shoppers can pick up their groceries per day.

The redesigned gas station will also become a station for couriers to deliver groceries directly to customers via platforms such as Uber Eats.

Plans from Fabcot – the development arm of Woolworths – for the site suggest it will still look very much like a gas station.

However, Woolworths will replace the petrol pumps with 11 car parking spaces, including six for grocery stores and the rest for Woolworths staff.

“Customers using this service only have to park for a few minutes while they wait for their order to be delivered to their car, as opposed to a typical shopping trip which can take more than 30 minutes,” Woolworths said.

“This model is a response to a continued increase in online shopping observed within the existing supermarket network, while at the same time offering reduced Covid-19 risk to customers.”

The plans also indicate that the site will only be used for this purpose for a period of up to five years, while Woolworths’ plans for a small to medium sized retail outlet could be approved by planning authorities and, if approved, eventually built.

But not everyone is convinced that the retailer’s plans for the Rose Bay site will match the aesthetic of the eastern suburbs.

“We have a lot of older customers who come to us and they love coming into the store to see the products and they have that relationship with the staff where we know them all by name,” Peter Morelli, owner of Rose Bay’s famed Parisis Food Hall, told The Daily Telegraph

While plans for the Rose Bay site have been submitted to Woollahra Council, Woolworths has confirmed to that they are still under review.

The way of the future

The futuristic supermarket experience will look and feel different from what we have experienced in the past. So, what’s next for the supermarket sector?

Technology will no doubt continue to change the way consumers shop and supermarkets are looking for ways to make grocery shopping faster and easier.

Artificial intelligence

This technology is not limited to robots or voice assistants, it is much more than that in the retail world.

Woolworths, for example, has hi-tech robotic cameras in stores as part of their Scan&Go program that automatically weighs and locates products without the need for a barcode.

The scales are so accurate that they can tell the difference between different types of the same vegetables and organic and non-organic products in less than 200 milliseconds.

Free check out

The checkout-less concept recently caused a stir when Aldi opened its new Shop & Go store in London’s Greenwich High Street, which uses artificial intelligence so customers don’t have to go to the checkout.

To use this service, customers download the Aldi Shop&Go app, which tracks the items removed from the shelves. When customers are done with their store, they can leave the store without going through a checkout.

The groceries are then electronically debited to the customer’s account via the app and customers later receive a receipt via the app.

Using QR Codes

Woolworths shoppers can pay for their groceries via a single QR code scan on their smartphone. Unveiled on May 11, the new feature, Everyday Pay, is one of the first digital wallets in Australia to support QR code payments.

Everyday Rewards members only need to enter their credit card, debt or gift card information along with how they want to pay into the app.

The digital wallet then does the rest when the customer scans the QR code available for payment at checkout.

At Amazon Fresh in the UK, shoppers scan a QR code when they first enter the store, after which cameras and sensors track their movements and what they take off the shelves.

The technology can also identify whether the customer is putting an item back on the shelf. Consumers are then paid for their orders via the Amazon app on their smartphone.

Map shopping trips

Through his app, Coles allows customers to map their journey to the grocery aisle by aisle, so they don’t have to spend the time wandering aimlessly from aisle to aisle looking for the items they want to buy.
Face Age Estimation Technology

Customers who buy alcohol in Aldi’s Greenwich High Street in London can use the facial age determination technology to confirm their age via the Aldi Shop&Go app.

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