The ShopRite of Yardley and the ShopRite of Bethlehem, both in Pennsylvania, are offering customers the opportunity to have their groceries delivered by innovative battery-powered delivery robots. The remote-controlled carts will debut in Yardley this week and Bethlehem next month, providing same-day delivery to shoppers.
The service is offered in a new pilot program undertaken by supermarket cooperative Wakefern Food Corp., which is the logistics, distribution and marketing arm for ShopRite stores, and technology company Tortoise, which provides affordable and sustainable last-mile delivery options. ShopRite is the first East Coast supermarket banner to adopt the technology.
“We are excited to launch this revolutionary new technology,” said Wakefern Chariman and CEO Joe Colalillo, who is also president of Flemington, N.J.-based ShopRite of Hunterdon County, operating five stores, including the Yardley and Bethlehem locations. “Demand for ever-faster home delivery continues to increase, and we believe this provides another innovative way for ShopRite customers to receive their groceries quickly and efficiently. Tortoise’s battery-powered cart is a unique, environmentally friendly and cost-effective delivery option for our customers who shop online.”
With an average speed of 3 miles per hour, the zero-emissions carts typically operate on sidewalks or the side of the road, and are tele-operated by trained remote drivers. The carts can hold up to 150 pounds in four lockable containers for ambient, chilled and frozen groceries. ShopRite customers are informed of the arrival of the order by a text message that can also be used to unlock the cart to unload the items.
“Wakefern is our first customer on the East Coast to use this innovative delivery system, and we believe shoppers will love the convenience Tortoise offers,” noted Dmitry Shevelenko, co-founder of Mountain View, Calif.-based Tortoise. “Our electric cart allows ShopRite associates to focus less on the delivery of products and more on helping customers to improve the shopping experience.”
Further, Delivery Solutions, a provider of intelligent solutions that aim to aggregate, orchestrate and optimize last-mile delivery, is supporting the robots with real-time order tracking and scheduling.
“We are excited to deliver on our promise to future-proof fulfillment for ShopRite,” said Manil Uppal, founder of Plano, Texas-based Delivery Solutions. “Tortoise is the latest in a series of fulfillment options ShopRite will orchestrate against to provide superior customer experiences.”
The Tortoise delivery system also provides a contactless option for ShopRite customers amid the lingering COVID-19 pandemic.
Other retailers to roll out Tortoise delivery robots include convenience store operator Urban Value Corner Store in Dallas and supermarket giant Albertsons Cos. in Northern California.
The largest retailer-owned grocery cooperative in the United States. Keasbey, N.J.-based Wakefern Food Corp. comprises nearly 50 members that independently own and operate 363 supermarkets under the ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, Dearborn Market, Gourmet Garage, and Fairway Market banners in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. The company is No. 23 on The PG100, Progressive Grocer’s2021 listing of North America’s top food and consumables retailers in North America. Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons, with 2,277 retail stores under a range of banners, 1,725 pharmacies, 400 associated fuel centers, 22 dedicated distribution centers and 20 manufacturing facilities, is No. 8 on PG’s list.