Amazon has acquired Kiva Systems, a technology firm specialising in automated picking, for $775m.

The buy will help the online giant improve the speed and efficiency of its picking operation.

The retailer’s vice president, global customer fulfilment, Dave Clark said: “Amazon has long used automation in its fulfillment centers, and Kiva’s technology is another way to improve productivity by bringing the products directly to employees to pick, pack and stow.”

“Kiva shares our passion for invention, and we look forward to supporting their continued growth.”

Kiva Systems removes the need for workers to move around vast warehouses and instead uses robots which move mobile shelves to staff for them to pick the relevant products off.

The technology company’s service is already used by US giants including Staples, Gap and Crate & Barrel, which it will continue to serve under Amazon’s ownership.

Similar technology is also employed by grocery etailer Ocado at its Hatfield distribution centre.

Amazon also generates revenue by providing distribution services to other businesses via Fulfillment by Amazon.