America’s largest grocery chain technology company Ocado. Connecting fulfillment centers across the country through its partnership with
This was followed by the opening of Kroger’s first automated fulfillment center with Okado in Monroe, Ohio, in April, as part of an agreement the chain struck with the UK-based online grocer in 2018.
Ocado’s automation software uses robotics and artificial intelligence to operate warehouses that have fewer human workers than traditional distribution centers. Highly automated fulfillment sites like these are intended to rapidly and efficiently move goods through delivery systems to consumers’ homes, potentially providing speed and cost advantages to the growing business of online grocery shopping.
Kroger, which operates the Ralph, Harris Teeter and Dylan chain with its own name-brand stores, has been investing in online sales and distribution for several years, and the growth in online shopping since the pandemic began has fueled the effort. given more urgency. The chain said last month that it would work with food-delivery specialist Instacart Inc. to deliver food and household staples in as little as 30 minutes.
Instacart is looking more deeply into grocery fulfillment with plans for a network of highly automated warehouses that the company will operate for supermarket chains.
Sucharita Kodali, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research Inc., which focuses on e-commerce and consumer behavior, said investing in grocery delivery and automation comes with the risk that consumers may not want to bear the additional cost of grocery delivery. But retailers and grocers are on the rise to compete with the rapid growth in Amazon.com’s market. Inc.
and walmart Inc.
“You can’t be in a hypercompetitive industry like retail and not try something new,” she said.
Ocado also counts the UK’s Wm. Morrisons Supermarkets plc, French grocer Group Casino, and Canadian food store Sobies Inc. among merchants using its e-commerce technology. It also has a joint venture with British retailer Marks & Spencer Group plc.
Lydia O’Neal at [email protected]