The Coles Supermarket with no customers

Next door to East Richmond station is car park full of Coles delivery trucks. The nearest Coles supermarket is a few blocks away at the former Dimmeys store – so why are the trucks there?

Coles Supermarket delivery trucks parked outside the Richmond South 'dark' store

I found four in this row.

Coles Supermarket delivery trucks parked outside the Richmond South 'dark' store

A few more here.

Coles Supermarket delivery trucks parked outside the Richmond South 'dark' store

And over there.

Coles Supermarket delivery trucks parked outside the Richmond South 'dark' store

Outnumbering the cars!

Coles Supermarket delivery trucks parked outside the Richmond South 'dark' store

But on the other side was the reason for the trucks – a nondescript loading dock.

Loading docks at the Coles Supermarket Richmond South 'dark' store

The only branding being a big red “Click & Collect” sign the sole doorway, which gives away the owner – Coles!

'Click and Collect' window at the Coles Richmond South 'dark' store

In June 2016 the Sydney Morning Herald explained the logic behind this ‘secret’ supermarket.

Wesfarmers-owned Coles is testing its first online-only store in inner-city Melbourne as it pushes to drive volumes in online sales, which have jumped 25 per cent this year alone.

Coles boss John Durkan said the chain planned to roll out one or two more of the so-called “dark stores”, which have a dedicated team picking stock for online customers.

Mr Durkan said the idea was to test if Coles could become more efficient in handling online shopping and avoid clogging up the supermarket aisles with the bulky online order trolleys.

The online-only outlet was opened in April at a former Coles site in Richmond, and serves customers living within about five kilometres, taking in some of Melbourne’s most densely populated suburbs.

So what’s inside? Issue 7 of ‘Coles Supply Chain’ magazine had an article on the store.

In April 2016 Coles opened their first-ever stand alone online ‘dark store’ in Richmond South, catering for Coles Online customers living within a five kilometre radius of the store.

Although there are no customers walking the aisles, the store is setup exactly as a normal shop would be and has a team of approximately 150 staff, including more than 50 Customer Service Agents dedicated to delivering orders.

Measuring more than 2650 square metres, the store layout has been specifically designed for increased picking efficiency, with a dedicated cool-room for picking chilled products and a bulk pick area for fast-moving products.

The store has five loading bays, providing the capacity to efficiently fill and dispatch a feet of vans throughout the day.

As well as a photo of the bulk pick area.


Coles photograph

Navigating supermarket aisles is a pain in the arse at the best of times – let alone keeping the shelves faced up! So a dedicated ‘pick and pack’ venue makes a lot of sense for a supermarket chain.

Footnote

In February 2015 the original Coles Supermarket next to East Richmond station was replaced by the current store at ‘Richmond Icon’, which freed up the site for the current ‘dark’ store.

In August 2017 the store was part of a trial where Uber drivers supplemented Coles delivery vans to make same-day deliveries of items that were missing from online orders.

Liked it? Take a second to support Marcus Wong on Patreon!
You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

5 Responses to “The Coles Supermarket with no customers”

  1. Beren says:

    I remember that location used to be a real store. So when I was young my mum worked around the corner from this station and on a weekend she got the keys to a tennis court located nearby. On the way home to glen waverley we often stopped into the shops that were located here.

  2. Kevin says:

    “Catering for Coles Online customers living within a five kilometre radius of the store.”
    So, why don’t they use electric cargo bikes instead of larger trucks (that are diesel?).

  3. Rich says:

    They’ve also maintained a small counter on Swan Street for click and collect customers in foot as well as vehicle collections at the rear loading dock.

Leave a Reply