The Kroger Co. has expanded its Instacart partnership into 25 markets, totaling 27 markets of operations at present.
In addition to its Ralphs and QFC divisions, which launched delivery via the San Francisco-based service late last year, the Cincinnati-based grocery giant has added its Central (Indiana), Cincinnati, Columbus, Dallas, Dillons, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, King Soopers, Louisville, Michigan, Roundy’s and Smith’s divisions to the partnership.
Currently, Kroger delivers groceries from more than 872 stores nationwide and offers 1,091 curbside-pickup locations – with plans to add 500 new locations this year. Its partnerships with all delivery providers, Instacart included, mean that the grocer now brings groceries to customers' doors in 45 markets.
"As part of Restock Kroger, we are investing in redefining our customers' grocery shopping experience by bringing online and offline seamlessly together," said Yael Cosset, Kroger's chief digital officer. "Having grown our digital sales in 2017 by 90 percent, we continue to accelerate our digital roadmap in 2018 to make shopping with Kroger simpler and more personalized.
Added Cosset: "When you look at Kroger's customer coverage area for seamless shopping, two-thirds of our customers – more than 40 million households – have access to curbside pickup and/or delivery. Our goal is for these convenient services to be available to every customer."
Kroger will continue to expand its seamless coverage area and enhance its digital shopping experience to provide customers with quicker and easier access to personalized products, recipes, digital coupons, weekly ads, smart shopping lists, and more. Kroger customers can experience the seamless experience by shopping on the company's website or app.
Last month, Instacart announced that it closed a $200 million financing round, following Amazon’s announcement that it was introducing free two-hour delivery of groceries from Whole Foods stores to Amazon Prime members. With the new funding, Instacart plans to invest in building more robust shopper support teams and software over the following few years, with plans to offer more convenience and better selection at competitive prices for customers – something Amazon is known for – as well as to work more closely with its retailer and CPG partners to grow their sales.
In addition to expanding its partnerships – the most recent being with Aldi in the Chicago area this week – Instacart has been working on ways to offer more speed and convenience with its service. In January, the company purchased Toronto-based ecommerce platform provider Unata, aiming to create a one-stop shop for brick-and-mortar retailers to effectively compete in an increasingly online world. Additionally, last week, it filed a patent that would allow its shoppers to scan and pay for items with their mobile devices, enabling them to skip checkout.