Kroger has gone live with the expansion of its self-driving grocery ecommerce delivery pilot to the Houston market.
Partnering with Nuro
Kroger is working with self-driving vehicle company, Nuro, for the expansion of this programme, following an earlier test in Scottsdale, Arizona. It currently operates from one store in the Houston market, making deliveries into two zip codes. A further store will join the programme later this spring, adding another two zip codes. The pilot has started using Nuro's self-driving Toyota Prius fleet. Nuro’s next generation driverless vehicle will be introduced later this year.
Potential to significantly scale-up in Houston
The initial pilot confirmed for Kroger the flexibility and benefits provided by autonomous vehicles. Customers have also been very receptive to having their groceries delivered in this way. Through moving the test to Houston, where Kroger has a significant presence, there is an opportunity to significantly scale up the programme in the future.
Improving the economics of grocery ecommerce
Self-driving vehicles could be an important component in improving the economics of grocery ecommerce. Last-mile delivery represent a significant proportion of overall costs. Retailers in North America are currently testing several fulfillment and delivery models as they look to reduce channel costs. These include hyper-local robotic fulfillment, third-party crowd-sourced delivery platforms and shared centralised distribution models.
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