Albertsons Is the Latest Among Top Grocers to Automate Ecommerce
- The Cincinnati-based grocery giant in May launched an exclusive partnership with U.K.-based online supermarket Ocado in the United States to enhance its own ecommerce program, including online ordering, automated fulfillment and home delivery. Called part of Kroger’s effort to “accelerate [the] creation of a seamless shopping experience for America’s families,” the partnership involves two prongs: Ocado's agreement to boost Kroger's digital and robotics capabilities by debuting the foundations of the Ocado Smart Platform stateside, and Kroger's agreement to grow its existing investment in Ocado by 5 percent, bringing its total investment to more than 6 percent. Kroger and Ocado revealed the terms of their deal this week.
In a May interview with Progressive Grocer, Ken Fenyo, head of consumer markets for New York-based consultancy McKinsey Fast Growth, who was previously Kroger's VP of loyalty, acknowledged that grocery ecommerce is more expensive for grocers than traditional operations, and, therefore, these retailers must find ways to automate the supply chain if they have any hope of creating a profitable ecommerce business.
Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons Cos. operates stores across 35 states and the District of Columbia under 20 banners, including Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen and Carrs, as well as meal-kit company Plated. Albertsons is No. 3 on PG's 2018 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.