Following last month's announcement that it would be testing driverless ecommerce deliveries, Kroger has launched the first pilot at a store in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Flat fee charge of $5.95
Kroger announced in July that it would partner with Nuro, a company that makes fully unmanned vehicles, to trial the delivery initiative. The pilot has launched at single location of Fry’s Food Stores in Scottsdale, Arizona. Customers shop via the retailer’s website or app, scheduling orders for same-day or next-day delivery by Nuro’s fleet of self-driving vehicles. The retailer charges a flat fee of $5.95, with no minimum order.
Potential to improve cost efficiencies
Nuro will start the pilot using its self-driving Toyota Prius fleet before introducing its custom R1 driverless vehicle later in the year. The fully electric vehicles have locking compartments and shoppers will receive a code to unlock it when they place their order. Each vehicle weighs around 1,500 pounds and have cameras and sensors to allow them to drive autonomously. With last mile delivery typically the highest cost element within online grocery fulfilment, improving cost efficiencies in this area could provide significant operational savings for Kroger, helping it to scale its model.
Testing consumer acceptance of self-driving vehicles
The pilot aims to offer more customers “the convenience of affordable grocery delivery,” according to Kroger’s Chief Digital Officer, Yael Cosset. Customer acceptance of self-driving vehicles will be a key focus for the test. Kroger will not be alone in testing self-driving vehicles in Arizona. While Uber recently ended its test in the market to focus on California, Alphabet-owned Waymo has been testing in Phoenix for over a year. Recently it announced plans to partner with five companies in the city, including Walmart. Under this pilot, Waymo vehicles will transport the rider to and from a Walmart store to collect their groceries.
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