“Dark stores” are small warehouse-like spaces, where customers can pick up online orders.
Amazon-owned Whole Foods has opened a new store, dedicated solely to fulfilling online orders. This is the company’s first purpose-built online-only store. Other retail brands, like Walmart and Bed, Bath & Beyond, are also converting some of their stores into micro fulfilment centres. Even some shopping malls are being transformed into fulfilment stores.
Though this idea has been around for years, the pandemic has accelerated the shift from in-store to online shopping. Retailers are fast transforming their stores to accommodate this significant shopping shift. Retail experts expect this is to be just the beginning of a major trend.
Managing partner at Cambridge Retail Advisors, Ken Morris, said grocery chains would eventually move to a “semidark” or hybrid model. He further added, “Key to this change is robotics.”
[3 minute read]