Kroger Piloting Online Ordering, Pick-up Service in Cincinnati
As e-commerce continues to gain steam, Kroger Co. has become the latest traditional grocer to incorporate an online element into its services, according to reports.
Associates at the grocer's Liberty Township Kroger Marketplace in Ohio are piloting a click-and-collect system, in which customers can submit their orders online and pick them up at a drive-thru window without leaving their cars.
Kroger is testing the same technology currently deployed by Harris Teeter, the North Carolina chain that the company acquired for $2.5 billion last year.
"A 'shop online, pick up in the store' model is an exciting opportunity for Kroger and our customers," Rachael Betzler, public relations manager for Kroger's Cincinnati/Dayton division, told Progressive Grocer.
"Harris Teeter has successfully scaled this model in their stores and we are learning a lot from them about it," Betzler continued. "Our approach with new technologies and systems is to test small and work out the kinks before scaling more widely."
Details of the service are not yet available, but Harris Teeter customers pay $4.95 per order, $16.95 for 30 days of service, or $99.95 per year, with orders ready for pick-up within four hours of placement, according to reports.
Betzler added that Kroger is still in the "embryonic" stage of the test, and that it's not yet available to customers. Although there is no set timeline for which the program will be rolled out chain-wide, concluded Betzler, "We are excited about the potential here and the best I can tell you on timing is to stay tuned."
If implemented throughout its stores, the online ordering system would be the latest of Kroger's efforts to meet consumer demand through a digital platform. The company recently purchased Vitacost.com, an e-commerce company in the nutrition and healthy-living market, in early July of this year.
Kroger operates 2,640 supermarkets and multidepartment stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry's, Harris Teeter, Jay C, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith's.