One of Canada’s “Big Three” in retail is taking a different approach to online grocery.
Stellarton, Nova Scotia-based Sobeys is launching Voilà by Sobeys and Voilà par IGA. The difference? Instead of building on existing infrastructure and picking from stores, Voilà will be powered by Ocado Group, the United Kingdom-based company that is currently building e-commerce warehouses for Kroger Co. in the U.S.
“We are building the most advanced e-commerce infrastructure in Canada,” said Sarah Joyce, Senior Vice President, E-commerce, for Sobeys parent company Empire Company Ltd., in a news release. “An online grocery home delivery experience like Voilà by Sobeys does not exist yet in Canada.”
Joyce said others are focused on store pick models to fulfill online orders.
Instead “we are building automated warehouses specifically designed for best-in-class home delivery based on a highly successful model from the U.K.,” she said.
The first customer fulfillment center is being built in Vaughan, Ontario, and is launching in the Greater Toronto Area in 2021.
Another facility in Montreal is expected to open in 2021, and will take over service in the metro area from IGA.net, which has offered online grocery for the past 20 years. Customers outside the delivery range of the new facility will continue to be serviced by IGA.net.
“We’re thrilled to build on our solid legacy of e-commerce in Quebec,” Joyce said. “When selecting future locations we consider size of market, population density and potential for growth. Launching in Quebec is another exciting step forward to bringing the world’s most innovative e-commerce solution to Canadians.”