Auckland Airport launches world’s first robotic click and collect service

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Auckland Airport in New Zealand has become the world’s first airport to offer a robotic click and collect service to passengers shopping in the airport’s duty-free store.

As part of Portland Design’s project to revamp the airport’s duty-free shopping experience for Lagardère Travel Retail, a 4m (13ft) high robot arm has been placed in the center of the Aelia Duty Free store in the arrivals area. The arm is programmed to retrieve orders that were placed online from an array of boxes surrounding it on three sides when the order slip is scanned by a customer. The process takes 30 seconds and the arm, dubbed ACE (Automated Collection Experience), can carry up to 150kg (330 lb).

Travelers place their order online at and print out the receipt. The receipt has a bar code that is scanned by ACE, telling the machine which drawer the purchase is being stored in. ACE picks up the purchase and delivers it into a collection drawer, already bagged up to take away.

Lewis Allen, director of environments at Portland Design, which specializes in creating engaging consumer experiences for clients globally such as Diageo, Heathrow Airport and Nestlé, said, “ACE was introduced to meet present day shopper expectations and commercial imperatives. Consumers expect seamless and efficient technology-enabled experiences wherever they are.

“Airports are also increasingly aware that arrivals duty-free shopping could be enhanced. More generally in retail there is a recognition that the click and collect experience, which is growing in importance, deserves more thought. Robot assisted shopping introduces that all-important wow factor, while pointing the way to a more automated but simultaneously personalized future in retail.”

Richard Barker, Auckland Airport’s general manager of retail and commercial, added, “The ACE robot shows our ongoing commitment to making journeys better and providing a world-class duty free experience at Auckland Airport. Not only does the ACE robot look impressive, it also reduces the time arriving passengers have to wait at the duty free collection point.”

To watch a video of the ACE service, which has been in operation since the end of December 2015, please click here.

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, editor-in-chief

Helen has worked for UKi Media & Events for nearly a decade. She joined the company as assistant editor on Passenger Terminal World and since progressed to become editor of five publications, covering everything from aviation, logistics and e-commerce to meteorology. She has a love for travel and property and has redeveloped three houses in three years. When she’s not editing magazines, she’s running around after her two boys and their partner in crime, Pete the pug.

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