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Increase in online shopping helps Ocado to grow

25 September 2017 - 11:59 by Graham Miller

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Online grocery firm, Ocado, has reported a healthy 13.1 per cent increase in revenues over the past quarter, fuelled in part by a 16 per cent rise in the number of orders it handles over the course of an average week.

Interestingly, this growth occurred at the same time as its typical basket values fell, albeit by a marginal one per cent, according to the Financial Times.

Although more major supermarkets are offering customers the opportunity to order their groceries via shopping online, Ocado is managing to shore up its position by working with more of its rivals and selling its retail technologies to third parties, rather than solely competing on sales.

Its cutting edge use of robotics means that most orders that customers place can be fulfilled without needing human workers to pick products and pack them manually. Instead, this is handled by machinery, which improves efficiency and lowers costs.

In August, Ocado pushed the tech envelope even further by integrating compatibility with Alexa, the voice-controlled personal assistant service created by Amazon and available via smartphones as well as its Echo smart speaker. This is just one of the ways in which it is making safe shopping online easier to complete and taking the initiative in a tough marketplace.

Ocado spokesperson, Tim Steiner, explained that its fulfilment centre updates were beginning to pay dividends, even if the initial expense of adopting new systems had been significant. This could pave the way for more retailers to follow suit and make robots a common sight in warehouses across the UK.

Amazon is another retailer that has been pioneering with its use of robots, although it still relies on thousands of human workers to fulfil orders at the moment and this will, likely, remain the case for some time to come.