FairPrice revamps e-commerce platforms, boosts delivery service

Pickers at the FairPrice Hub distribution centre bagging items for online orders. The new system is four times faster than the old one, which required pickers to retrieve items manually.
Pickers at the FairPrice Hub distribution centre bagging items for online orders. The new system is four times faster than the old one, which required pickers to retrieve items manually.ST PHOTOS: GAVIN FOO

Singapore's largest supermarket retailer has taken the fight to online-only grocers such as RedMart and Amazon with the launch of its revamped e-commerce platforms and a higher delivery capacity.

FairPrice On, launched yesterday, features a streamlined shopping experience, wider range of products and more delivery slots through its website and mobile app.

There are currently more than 400,000 online account members who can enjoy free delivery for orders of $59 or more, or pick up their items from 71 click-and-collect locations with a minimum spend of $29.

Customers will also receive targeted promotions based on their profile, interests and consump-tion habits.

The revamp comes a week after FairPrice joined forces with ride-hailing firm Grab to launch the Score subscription programme, which offers rebates on supermarket purchases and discounts on Grab rides.

It pits itself against Lazada's LiveUp membership programme, which offers rebates and discounts for partners such as RedMart.

Through a partnership with the National Council of Social Service, FairPrice On members can also donate groceries directly to 55 social service organisations.

A worker at the FairPrice Hub distribution centre loading a bin with items for storage. The new automated storage and retrieval system brings bins containing order items to employees stationed at picking bays, where they bag and dispatch items for de
A worker at the FairPrice Hub distribution centre loading a bin with items for storage. The new automated storage and retrieval system brings bins containing order items to employees stationed at picking bays, where they bag and dispatch items for delivery. 

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who was the guest of honour at the launch, said: "FairPrice's platform is a very good example of how traditional businesses can use technology to transform themselves and improve the quality of jobs in the retail industry."

FairPrice is providing its 10,000 staff with retraining to take on better jobs as technology has relieved them of the need for labour-intensive work, said Mr Tharman.

The Government is working with industry and training providers in the retail sector in support of skills development, including a job redesign programme for retail companies to be launched in the middle of this year, he added.

Other supermarket chains Cold Storage, Giant and Sheng Siong have also made efforts in recent years to integrate technology in their stores, such as by rolling out QR code payment systems and self-check-out counters.

Speaking at yesterday's event at FairPrice Hub in Joo Koon, in Jurong West, FairPrice chief executive Seah Kian Peng said: "We were among the first supermarket retailers in Singapore to launch an online platform in 2002... Over the past 1½ years, we have conducted an end-to-end overhaul of our online shopping service."

There are currently 13,000 products available online, and the number is set to grow, he said.

  • 13k

    Number of products available on FairPrice's online platforms.

    3k

    Number of orders the distribution centre's automated storage and retrieval system can handle daily.

FairPrice On's general manager Elvin Too said that the rebranding and redesign of its online platforms aim to serve young families better.

He added: "If customers are not satisfied with their orders for any reason, they can go to any of our 138 touchpoints (at FairPrice supermarkets) to do a refund or an exchange. This is one of the benefits we can provide that no pure-play online provider can."

Automation has a big role at FairPrice Hub, which houses the supermarket chain's headquarters and distribution centre.

The distribution centre has been fitted with a new online fulfilment system, which helps to boost productivity and reduce order errors.

The automated storage and retrieval system is able to handle up to 3,000 orders a day, and is four times faster than the manual radio frequency-assisted picking system which FairPrice used in the past.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 29, 2018, with the headline 'FairPrice revamps e-commerce platforms, boosts delivery service'. Print Edition | Subscribe