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09/23/2021

ShopRite pilots remote-controlled delivery robots

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Select ShopRite stores will offer on-demand delivery via robot.

ShopRite will be the first supermarket chain on the East Coast to utilize Tortoise delivery robots.

Part of a new pilot program between ShopRite parent Wakefern Food Corp. and Tortoise, the remote-controlled, robotic delivery carts will roll out at a ShopRite store in Yardley, Penn. before the end of September 2021, and at a ShopRite store in Bethlehem, Pa., in October 2021.

With an average speed of three miles per hour, the remote-controlled, zero-emissions carts typically travel on sidewalks or the side of the road, and are tele-operated by trained remote drivers. The delivery cart can hold up to 150 pounds in four lockable containers that support ambient, chilled and frozen groceries.

ShopRite customers are alerted to the arrival of the order via a text message that can also be used to unlock the cart to unload groceries. The Tortoise delivery system is another contactless option for ShopRite customers, as ShopRite also offers online grocery delivery through a variety of last-mile providers.

Dallas-based local convenience chain Urban Value Corner Store is also leveraging Tortoise delivery robots. In August 2021, Urban Value Corner Store partnered with e-commerce solution provider Vroom Delivery and Tortoise to start offering on-demand delivery of thousands of products in the coming months. Delivery assortment will include grocery staples such as milk and eggs, as well as beverages, ice cream, snacks and more, all delivered in under an hour.

Delivery Solutions worked with Wakefern and Tortoise to support the new delivery robots with real-time order tracking and scheduling.

“We are excited to launch this revolutionary new technology. Demand for ever-faster home delivery continues to increase and we believe this provides another innovative way for ShopRite customers to receive their groceries quickly and efficiently,” said Wakefern chairman and CEO Joe Colalillo, who also serves as president of the ShopRite of Hunterdon County and operator of the Yardley and Bethlehem stores. “Tortoise’s battery-powered cart is a unique, environmentally-friendly and cost-effective delivery option for our customers who shop online.”

“Wakefern is our first customer on the east coast to use this innovative delivery system and we believe shoppers will love the convenience Tortoise offers,” added Dmitry Shevelenko, co-founder of Tortoise.  “Our electric cart allows ShopRite associates to focus less on the delivery of products and more on helping customers to improve the shopping experience.”

"We are excited to deliver on our promise to futureproof fulfillment for ShopRite. Tortoise is the latest in a series of fulfillment options ShopRite will orchestrate against to provide superior customer experiences,” said Manil Uppal, founder of Delivery Solutions.

ShopRite is a registered trademark of Wakefern Food Corp., a retailer-owned cooperative based in Keasbey, N.J., and the largest supermarket cooperative in the U.S. with 362 independently-owned and operated supermarkets under the ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, Dearborn Market, Gourmet Garage, and Fairway Market banners in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. There are nearly 280 ShopRite supermarkets located throughout New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware and Maryland.