We went to see how it works at a Glovo store — and we even helped with some orders
You need to have everything ready before the courier arrives. Employees have two minutes to roam the grocery store aisles.
In Campo de Ourique, Lisbon, there is a grocery store that not everyone has access to. Inside there are corridors like a common store with the most varied articles. It has the frozen, cold, drinks, cookies or cosmetics area. On Rua Azedo Gneco, where this space is located, you are likely to see a greater whirlwind of delivery couriers driving motorcycles with the typical yellow bags on their backs. This is where one of the seven stores that Glovo has in Greater Lisbon is located.
The products are displayed as in a regular supermarket, the difference is that customers do not enter the space — orders are placed online, through the website or the brand’s application. It’s the employees who walk through the aisles filling the cart with everything you’ve selected. Then you just need to track the order, and in 15 to 20 minutes everything will be delivered to the address you selected.
Cardboard bags with the Glovo symbol are delivered to couriers through a window. “What’s your order, friend?” asks Filipe Brandão, the brand’s store manager. On the other side, the courier only shows him the phone with the number of the package he was coming to pick up: 563.
In this shipping area, the bags are placed in three zones: one is dry, another is frozen, and another is refrigerated, for items that need to be kept cool until they are picked up.
Customers waiting for orders — and the couriers themselves — do not follow the process of placing the chosen products in the bags. We visited the Campo Ourique store, which has been open for four months and we went to understand better how everything is done. Have been in the same neighborhood, in another location, but moved to the current one. It has about 300 square meters.
It is on a smartphone-like device that orders are received. The system informs you which products need to be collected. “The goal is for the route to be as efficient as possible, so that it doesn’t take too long. We have between a minute and a half and two minutes to go through the different corridors”, explains Filipe.
As soon as the machine gives the signal that an order has arrived, one of the workers takes a cart and goes to the appropriate aisles. It’s always easier for those who know the corners of the store — or MFC (micro fulfillment centers), the internal name with which they are identified.
Before an item enters the cart, it must be registered in the order list via the barcode, as is the case at checkout in any supermarket. If it is not the exact product the customer has chosen, the system gives an alert. “A product is never delivered that is not ordered. The online database is always up to datethat’s why a suggestion that we don’t have in stock never appears in the application or on the website.”
In less than two minutes Filipe had everything he needed: a shampoo, a can of mushrooms, a packet of cookies, a package of sliced ham and another of cream cheese. Once the items are validated, a message is sent to the courier selected to make the delivery saying you can go to the store.
The cart with the items arrives at the shipping area. It is still necessary to put everything in bags. They are made of cardboard and come in two sizes. “The heaviest items are always placed at the bottom.” The bag is always closed tightly, with three (or more) staples on each side of the handles.
A receipt with the order number and description is also printed, to facilitate delivery as soon as the courier arrives. In this case, the order was in the dry area, there was no frozen product — which, as a rule, are placed separately, in the fridge, for example.
The order had not yet been picked up by the courier when another arrived. “This time Adriano does it”, proposed the store manager. We thought it best to decline the proposal — having to do everything in just two minutes is a reason for a person to get nervous in the middle of the corridors. We prefer to follow this one more. We didn’t do everything ourselves, but we still helped to find some of the items in the middle of the shelves and in the cold store.
However, a new order came in, and now we wanted to try to handle the order without help. It was necessary to collect 12 articles, indicated the machine. We thought we would have to walk around the 300 square meters, but the task turned out to be much simpler: there were 12 bottles of 50 cl water. And they were in one of the aisles closest to the place where we were, which one has an explanation: drinks are the most requested products. Therefore, they are closer to the place where orders are processed. It was almost not necessary to resort to the cart we used.
We registered the 12 bottles of water through the barcode and then just put them in a bag. Mondays are usually one of the calmest days of the week, explains Filipe Brandão. As soon as we stapled the bag, another order arrived: café, eggs, Gleba bread, two mangoes and a bag of lemons. This time it took us more than two minutes to prepare the order, but the courier still hadn’t arrived by the time we were done — not bad.
As the end of the afternoon approaches, more orders fall. The number of orders is also higher on weekends, between Friday and Sunday. “In some stores the first orders in the morning are always pregnancy tests.” Bananas are another of the most purchased products in Glovo stores. At the most serious time of the pandemic, Covid-19 tests dominated orders.
“In one of the spaces there were 600 units at the beginning of the day. At 5 pm there were none.” In the application and on the Glovo website, you have access to all these articles through Express. The platform also has partnerships with other stores and grocery stores, but in the case of these express orders, the items come from own stores. There are seven like this in the Greater Lisbon area, including Almada and Sintra. In Porto there are two. Click on the gallery to learn more about Glovo’s store in Campo de Ourique.