Kroger and Drone Express, a division of TELEGRID Technologies, Inc., announced a pilot to offer grocery delivery by drone, expanding the retailer’s seamless ecosystem and providing customers with anything, anytime, anywhere.
The grocery delivery by drone pilot will begin this spring in the Midwest in partnership with Drone Express.
“Kroger’s new drone delivery pilot is part of the evolution of our rapidly growing and innovative e-commerce business – which includes pickup, delivery, and ship and reached more than $10 billion in sales in 2020,” said Kroger’s Jody Kalmbach, group vice president of product experience.
“The pilot reinforces the importance of flexibility and immediacy to customers, powered by modern, cost-effective, and efficient last-mile solutions. We’re excited to test drone delivery and gain insights that will inform expansion plans as well as future customer solutions,” added Kalmbach.
How the Drone Grocery Delivery Pilot Works
The grocery delivery by drone pilot will offer customers unparalleled flexibility as Drone Express technology allows package delivery to the location of a customer’s smartphone not only to a street address, simply meaning a customer will be able to order delivery of picnic supplies to a park, sunscreen to the beach, or condiments to a backyard cookout, said Kroger.
The grocery retailer said designing bundled product offerings is ideal for meeting customer needs within the current weight limits for drone delivery, which is about five pounds.
Using Kroger.com/DroneDelivery, customers can place orders and have eligible orders delivered within as little as 15 minutes.
“Autonomous drones have unlimited potential to improve everyday life, and our technology opens the way to safe, secure, environmentally friendly deliveries for Kroger customers,” said Beth Flippo, Chief Technology Officer, TELEGRID. “The possibilities for customers are endless – we can enable Kroger customers to send chicken soup to a sick friend or get fast delivery of olive oil if they run out while cooking dinner.”
Drone Express will commence test flights this week near the Kroger Marketplace in Centerville, Ohio (1095 South Main Street). Licensed Drone Express pilots will manage the flights from an on-site trailer with additional off-site monitoring.
Customer deliveries are scheduled to begin later this spring, and a second pilot is scheduled to launch this summer at a Ralphs store in California.
“The launch of the grocery delivery by drone pilot in Centerville is the culmination of months of meticulous research and development by Kroger and Drone Express to better serve and meet the needs of our customers,” said Ethan Grob, Kroger’s director of last-mile strategy and product.
“Kroger and Drone Express made a great choice in piloting this program in Centerville – a community with a robust business network focused on progress and stability near the birthplace of aviation,” said Centerville Mayor Brooks Compton. “Families here have the power to transform grocery delivery around the nation and the globe. We look forward to placing our first order.”