Grocery giant Kroger announced today that it has launched Kroger Ship, a direct to consumer e-commerce platform.
At launch, Kroger Ship is available in four markets: Cincinnati, Houston, Louisville and Nashville, but the company said it will expand to additional markets over the next few months. The service promises “fast and free” home delivery on orders over $35, otherwise shipping is $4.99 per order. However, during the launch phase customers will get free shipping with no minimum purchase required.
Kroger Ship is not to be confused with Kroger Delivery; the grocer’s partnership with Instacart, which offers two-hour delivery from local stores. Kroger Ship is meant for more non-perishable items like cereal, canned goods, cleaning supplies, etc..
The announcement today isn’t a tectonic one in the fiercely competitive battle of grocery delivery currently being waged by Kroger, Amazon, Walmart, Albertsons, Target and just about every other grocer. But it does give shoppers another option when purchasing from Kroger and helps broaden the company’s delivery strategy.
Earlier this year, Kroger increased its investment in UK company Ocado, which powers robotic smart warehouses and last mile logistics. Through an exclusive partnership, Kroger plans to build similar automated fulfillment centers here in the U.S., and has already begun identifying locations. In June, Kroger also partnered up with robotics startup Nuro to create a self-driving grocery delivery car pilot program, which will launch this fall.