Kroger Ship is a direct-to-customer platform that should give the grocery more control over its deliveries.
For quite some time, delivery has looked like the future of the supermarket business. But with Amazon’s takeover of Whole Foods last year, the battle over delivery groceries has escalated faster than anyone probably expected. But despite Amazon rapid escalation of its grocery business, America’s largest supermarket chain, Kroger, is not going down without a fight. (After all, this is a company so powerful that, earlier in the week, some of its California stores decided they could get away with banning the use of Visa credit cards.)
Today, Kroger unveiled Kroger Ship, the company’s new direct-to-customer online delivery platform. This new program will initially be tested in four markets, Cincinnati, Houston; Louisville, and Nashville, though the company says it’s hoping to “quickly” expand the service to other markets over the next few months.
Ship promises free doorstep delivery by a package carrier on orders over $35 – or $4.99 for smaller orders. To start, customers will be offered “a curated selection of 4,500 Our Brands products, which are not available anywhere else online, and more than 50,000 center-aisle groceries and household essentials that matter the most” as determined by data insights, the grocer stated.
“Kroger Ship is our next step in creating a seamless experience that allows our customers to shop when and how they want," Yael Cosset, Kroger's chief digital officer, said in the announcement. “Our new service is just one more way we are redefining the customer experience as part of Restock Kroger, bringing more convenience and options to shoppers across America. Kroger Ship complements and joins our 2,800 grocery stores, 1,250 curbside pickup locations, and delivery service from 1,200 locations.”
As that statement mentions, Kroger is not new to online ordering and delivery. As Supermarket News points out, the company already offers delivery through partnerships with brands like Instacart and other providers, but with Kroger Ship, the company should have more control not only over how delivery operates, but also how quickly it expands. “Kroger is building on our expansive logistics and fulfillment infrastructure to support the rapid rollout of Ship,” Frank Bruni, vice president of supply chain and procurement, added in a statement. Amazon who?