As the pandemic continues and people try to limit the amount of time they spend out of their homes, they are also looking towards online delivery services for everything from household items to groceries. And retailers are capitalizing on this trend because it’s one that might very well stick beyond the pandemic. Sobey’s is one such company, having just launched its new ecommerce platform called Voila.
With Voila, which will be available in several cities throughout the greater Toronto area (GTA), customers can order groceries online to have them delivered in one-hour windows. Orders can be placed online at voila.ca or using the Voila mobile app. Currently, Voila service is available for customers in Vaughan and Missisauga.
Voilà is powered by Ocado Group plc’s technology and fills orders through an automated Customer Fulfillment Centre in Vaughan, about 30 minutes outside of downtown Toronto. Robots assemble orders, resulting in minimal product handling, while Voilà teammates safely deliver orders directly to the customer’s home.
“Voilà by Sobeys is the future of online grocery retail in Canada, and now it’s here,” says Michael Medline, President & CEO of Empire. “Ocado’s technology gives us the best e-commerce platform in the country – there’s nothing like it in North America. We can’t wait to share Voilà with our customers in the GTA this summer and across Canada in the future.”
In addition to products from Sobey’s, Voila also offers delivery on products from Farm Boy (which Sobey’s owns) and Well.ca.
“Canadians deserve a better way to shop for groceries online,” adds Sarah Joyce, Senior Vice President, E-commerce of Empire. “Because Voilà delivers customers’ orders directly from an automated warehouse, we have tremendous control over the freshness and quality of our products and the reliability of our deliveries. Our teammates are ready to provide best-in-class service to our customers.”
At capacity, Voilà by Sobeys will bring approximately 1,500 jobs to the area, including operations, delivery, and customer service teammates. A second CFC is currently being built in Montreal to bring Voilà par IGA to major cities in the province of Quebec as well as Ottawa.
Empire Company Limited, parent to Sobey’s, says it has implemented significant safety protocols to keep Voilà by Sobeys teammates and customers safe, following standards and recommendations set out by the Public Health Agency of Canada. These include frequent cleaning and sanitization of warehouse and delivery vehicles, hygiene standards for all teammates, and equipping delivery vehicles with sanitizer and cleaning supplies. Delivery teammates wear face masks upon arrival to homes and change gloves and sanitize in between each delivery. All teammates also respect physical distancing guidelines.
Given the current need for ‘contactless’ deliveries, all orders will be left at customers’ doorstep or lobby. Delivery teammates will call customers ahead of time for specific delivery instructions.
Voila will continue to roll out to other local markets, including Toronto, Caledon, and Brampton, this summer. Qualification for delivery will be based on customer’s delivery address postal code.