Kroger is testing autonomous grocery delivery through a partnership with Nuro, an unmanned road vehicle startup. The pilot will begin in the fall in an unnamed market, allowing shoppers to place an order through Kroger’s ClickList ordering system or Nuro’s app and have it delivered the same day.
Delivery has become a major battleground for retailers, and technology is critical for meeting the demands of consumers who want it to be both fast and free. This requirement has proven particularly important for supermarkets, where multiple retailers have made significant investments in their delivery technology.
Kroger itself entered a partnership with Ocado in May to improve its online ordering, automated fulfillment and home delivery capabilities. The companies are working to identify locations for three automated warehouses in the U.S. for 2018, with up to 20 locations to be upgraded in three years.
Ahold Delhaize USA has formed Peapod Digital Labs, a division designed to accelerate growth in digital and personalization capabilities for the retailer’s six brands. The lab also will oversee online grocery delivery service Peapod as the company seeks to boost its e-Commerce operations.
While H-E-B hasn’t yet announced any specific initiatives, the company has appointed Jag Bath to the newly created position of Chief Digital Officer, where he will oversee its digital products and services. Bath also is CEO of Favor Delivery, H-E-B’s wholly owned on-demand delivery service, and he will continue to build out the company’s delivery efforts.
European grocers also are putting a greater emphasis on delivery: