This month, we saw a few great examples for the online grocery strategy in the US, as Walmart, Target and Kroger are giving Amazon a run for its e-grocery money.
- Kroger has launched Kroger Ship, a new direct-to-consumer e-commerce offering in 4 U.S. markets, offering free grocery delivery (for orders over $35) on a selection of 4,500 exclusive private label brands as well as 50,000 other grocery and household items.
- The company is testing driverless grocery delivery with a pilot program at a Fry’s location in Scottsdale, Arizona; The Kroger pilot with technology partner Nuro will kick off with Nuro-equipped, manned Toyota Priuses and progress to use Nuro’s unmanned driverless delivery vans by the fall.
- The company is also expanding its relationship with Instacart to bring same-day delivery service to 75 additional markets in the U.S. by late October, making the service now available at more than 1,600 stores.
- Kroger also launched a store on Alibaba’s Tmall Global platform, the largest e-commerce platform in China, featuring its Simple Truth natural and organic brand.
- Walmart’s new Click-and-Collect offering is allowing the retailer to grow its e-commerce offering faster than Amazon, according to Morgan Stanley analysts. Walmart’s Click & Collect service is now available in 1,800 stores, up from 0 one year ago, and the feature is driving loyalty and greater frequency among consumers.
- Walmart is also working to automate grocery delivery, with two new tech partnerships aimed at simplifying the grocery delivery process.
- The retailer has teamed with Waymo – formerly Google’s self-driving car project – to pilot an online grocery service in which driverless cars pick up customers at their homes and take them to the store to collect their orders. The service is now being tested in Chandler, Arizona.
- Walmart also announced that it has partnered with Alert Innovation on a test of its Alphabot robot to help fill online grocery orders faster. The automated storage and retrieval system, developed for Walmart, is being installed at the retailer’s supercenter in Salem, N.H. Automated mobile carts will retrieve ordered items and ferry them to personal shoppers at one of four pick stations. The associates then will pick, assemble and deliver the orders to customers.
- In addition, in August, the company was granted a patent for temperature-controlled vehicles.
- Target continues to expand its Drive Up program after launching in one market last October. The service lets guests place orders in the Target app, then have their items brought right out to their car. Target Drive Up is now available in dozens of states, including California and Colorado, which were added this month/
- The retailer is also expanding its same-day delivery service to two major markets in Montana in partnership with Shipt, expanding to service to 100,000 new households across the Billings and Bozeman metro areas. By the end of the year, Target plans to offer same-day delivery to 65 percent of U.S. households across 180 markets and is has also committed to expand its same-day delivery to all major product categories by 2019.
Amazon launched 30-minute curbside pick-up at Whole Foods. Whole Foods has launched curbside pickup for online grocery orders for Prime members in Sacramento, California and Virginia Beach, Virginia, adding to Amazon’s growing list of Prime integrations, which also includes free two-hour grocery delivery.
Available through the Prime Now app, the service is free for orders of more than $35 collected in an hour or more. Customers can elect to have their order ready in 30 minutes for a $4.99 fee. The Prime Now app lets customers notify Whole Foods when they are coming to pick up their groceries. Prime Now customers will have dedicated parking spaces where they can wait for an employee to bring the order to their car.