Dark Stores

What are dark stores?

Simply put, dark stores are supermarkets, which are only used for order preparation and picking online orders and are not accessible to customers. They are used in eCommerce, especially in eFood. Dark stores are built like conventional supermarkets, only that customers don’t go through the aisles but pickers. The concept was developed to meet the demand for quick commerce, i. e. deliveries within a few hours to minutes, and to offer a fast and efficient service. Hidden supermarkets are usually located near or in the centre of larger cities, in order to respond to orders in the shortest possible time.

How does the order processing in dark stores work?

Orders are registered in the dark store, e. g. via an app or the retailer’s online shop. Thanks to the use of picking software, the order can be processed quickly and easily, as the software indicates the storage location of the products and the optimal runway for the picking process. The picker is digitally assisted in compiling the order. After removal from the shelf, the product is scanned with a mobile device or scanner to ensure that the correct item has been removed and to record the removal. After completion of the picking process, the goods are packaged and made ready for dispatch. The goods are then handed over to a courier or shipping service provider and delivered to the customer. At a certain time of day the shelves are refilled. Usually early in the morning of each working day in order to have fresh goods available for the orders of the corresponding day.

Which advantages do dark stores offer?

Effective Last-Mile-Management

The last mile is the most expensive step in traditional delivery processes. Dark stores make delivery to the end customer easier, since the goods are shipped from a location that is close to the customer. This also saves costs and CO² emissions.

Unrestricted operation

Even though dark stores look like supermarkets, they are official warehouses and are not subject to business hours. This makes multiple shifts and theoretically round-the-clock operation possible.

Reduced store design expenses

Since no end customer enters a dark store, no complex interior design and no product displays or advertising material is necessary. Instead, the money saved can be invested in technology and automation.

Less personnel costs

No cashiers or customer service representatives are needed in dark stores. Generally, human order pickers share the work with robots in dark stores, so that human resources can be saved.

More efficient picking

The pickers in the dark store are supported by software that makes mistakes almost impossible. Such software also specifies routes and displays storage locations, making the picking process much more efficient.

This might also interest you

Dealers present their goods or services and potential buyers can view and purchase them.

Learn more

Software-based solution for managing warehouses and controlling material flows.

Learn more