NTUC Fairprice launches revamped online shopping platform and new high-tech order fulfilment system

Singapore’s largest supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice (FairPrice [1]) today officially launched its refreshed online platform, “FairPrice On”, with a revamped mobile app and online portal for customers, which provides an improved user-interface. It is also using a new automated storage and retrieval centre at its Distribution Centre facility in Joo Koon, that increases order fulfilment efficiency by four times.

This is in line with Singapore’s Retail Industry Transformation Map (ITM), which was launched in 2016. It contains key strategies to support sector transformation, including a focus on innovation and the adoption of new technologies to drive productivity, as well as staying agile and responsive to trends in jobs and skills. 

FairPrice On’s launch was officiated by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies.

CEO of NTUC FairPrice, Mr Seah Kian Peng, said: “NTUC FairPrice is one of the first supermarkets to launch an online platform in Singapore more than a decade ago and today we take another leap forward to enhance our online customer experience with FairPrice On. In line with Singapore’s Retail Industry Transformation Map, we continue to innovate and harness technology to boost productivity and customer service while adapting to constant shifts in the e-commerce industry.”

High-Tech Fulfilment System

At the High-Tech Distribution Centre facility at FairPrice Hub located at Joo Koon, FairPrice On’s new online fulfilment system, “AutoStore”, is an automated goods-to-man storage and retrieval system.

It utilises robotics to provide high-density storage, optimise manpower and boost productivity.

The high-density storage system consists of over 20,000 bins spread over multiple layers, occupying a space over one and a half times the size of an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Each bin can be configured to hold any quantity of products depending on size and weight, with the ability to hold multiple types of products within the same bin to provide greater flexibility and scalability.

Order fulfilment is managed through a computerised system with robots retrieving the items needed and shifting bins around to maximise space. The system is able to handle up to 3,000 orders per day and is four times faster compared to Radio Frequency (RF)-assisted picking, with the ability to fulfil 220 order-lines (each unique item per customer order) per hour.

The system is also scalable to accommodate for future growth of FairPrice On.

Enhanced Customer Engagement

In addition to operational efficiency improvement, FairPrice On features a revamped online portal and mobile app to provide a more robust and intuitive shopping experience for customers.

For example, the online customer journey from searching and selecting products to choosing a delivery slot and making payment has been streamlined to make it faster and easier for shoppers. To date, FairPrice On offers over 13,000 products ranging from groceries and fresh produce to personal care and electronics. Over 400,000 subscribers are registered on FairPrice On.  

To cater to varied customer needs, FairPrice On also utilises data analytics to send targeted personalised promotions based on their profile, interests and consumption habits.

Helping the Community

FairPrice On also offers subscribers a convenient platform to donate groceries to the less fortunate. Through a partnership with the National Council of Social Service, FairPrice On subscribers are able to choose from a list of 55 Social Service Organisations (SSO), such as Thye Hua Kwan Family Centres and Food from the Heart, and donate groceries they require directly to them. Delivery fees are waived for donated groceries.

[1] Fairprice is a co-operative of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), Singapore’s national confederation of trade unions as well as a network of professional associations and partners. 

Featured image: Apple Vidadof/ CC BY-SA 4.0

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