One of the nation's top online grocers, the Kroger Co., is significantly growing its ecommerce grocery delivery footprint, expanding its partnership with third-party delivery service Instacart to reach 75 additional markets, 50 percent more than before.
Starting today, residents in and around Atlanta; Augusta, Ga.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Little Rock, Ark.; Memphis; Nashville; and other cities can place their orders through the Cincinnati-based grocer's ecommerce platform and have both everyday essentials and fresh foods delivered in as little as two hours. More than 1,600 stores will now offer grocery delivery through the San Francisco-based service.
States included in the new expansion include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Kroger and Instacart announced their partnership last fall and made their first major expansion in March. The latest growth is strategic for both companies as they work together to provide same-day grocery delivery along with a seamless digital experience to more households every day.
To use the same-day service, customers:
- Visit delivery.kroger.com or their local store's website
- Sign in to their digital account and enter their ZIP code
- Build their online basket
- Check out and receive their order within two hours
Shoppers ordering through Kroger's website will receive their first delivery free without any membership fee.
Restock Kroger Moves Forward
Even with Amazon announcing this week the expansion of Prime Now grocery delivery from Whole Foods stores, Kroger is pushing ahead with its plan to offer grocery delivery to all Kroger customers nationwide.
"We are redefining the customer experience through Restock Kroger by rapidly accelerating our customer coverage area for seamless shopping, giving our shoppers the choice of stores, delivery, curbside pickup or ship to your door," said Matt Thompson, Kroger’s digital VP of ClickList. "We value our Instacart partnership, and the expansion is just one more way Kroger is offering millions of our customers across America the fresh food and groceries they want, when they want it."
During a June call to discuss Kroger's quarter-one earnings of fiscal 2018, Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen announced that the retailer had "aggressively grown" its existing seamless coverage to reach approximately 75 percent of its customers, including through the retailer's network of ClickList locations, stores offering home delivery through Instacart and other partners, and ship-to-home capabilities.
"Our goal is to reach 100 percent of our customers with seamless experience and, over time, to reach all across America," McMullen said on the call. "All the changes we are making to transform our business will make it even easier for families to share meals together."
To help achieve the goal of reaching 100 percent of customers, Kroger inked an exclusive partnership with U.K.-based online supermarket Ocado in the United States to enhance its ecommerce program, including online ordering, automated fulfillment and home delivery. Ocado agreed to boost Kroger’s digital and robotics capabilities, helping to expand its seamless coverage area to provide American consumers with the convenience of "shopping for anything, anytime and anywhere."
The expanded Instacart partnership is the second major announcement related to grocery technology from Kroger this week. Yesterday, the grocery giant announced its plan to build an innovation lab within the University of Cincinnati's 1819 Innovation Hub. The Cincinnati-based grocery giant plans to staff the hub with resources, including R&D engineers and software developers, alongside University of Cincinnati faculty.
The Instacart partnership, Ocado deal, Innovation Hub and more, including Kroger's possible deal to divest its Turkey Hill convenience-store business, all fit into the Restock Kroger strategy, which includes four pillars: Redefine the Food and Grocery Customer Experience, Expand Partnerships to Create Customer Value, Develop Talent and Live Kroger’s Purpose.
The Kroger Co. operates a seamless digital shopping experience and 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names nationwide. The company is No. 2 on Progressive Grocer's 2018 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.