Kroger to test unconventional delivery service

A supermarket giant is embarking on a new path when it comes to grocery delivery — and its driverless.

Through a partnership with Nuro, the maker of a fully unmanned vehicle, The Kroger Co. will deliver online grocery orders using a fleet of self-driving vehicles. The test, which will be based on Nuro’s hardware and software, is expected to launch in the fall, according to the grocer.

Here’s how it works: Customers place their same-day delivery order through Kroger's ClickList ordering system and Nuro's app. Orders will be delivered by Nuro's fleet of autonomous vehicles.

The program coincides with the company’s Restock Kroger program, which focuses on accelerating the grocer's commitment to digital and e-commerce efforts.

“As part of Kroger Restock, we have already started to redefine the grocery customer experience and expand the coverage area for our anything, anytime and anywhere offering,” said Yael Cosset, Kroger's chief digital officer. “Partnering with Nuro will create customer value by providing Americans access to fast and convenient delivery at a fair price.”

This is only one of Kroger’s plans to bolster its digital offering. On Wednesday, the grocer announced that it has established a separate headquarters for its digital team in downtown Cincinnati. It will house approximately 600 existing Kroger digital associates at first, who are being relocated from another facility. The retailer said it expects to grow its digital team to more than 1,000 over the next three years.

To further evolve its digital business, in May, the company announced an exclusive partnership with British online grocer market Ocado, and acquired online meal-kit company Home Chef. Last week, the chain reported its first quarter digital sales grew by 66%.
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