Kroger, a retailing giant in the US and its largest supermarket chain, has revamped its policies, undertaken several initiatives, in an attempt to save itself in the aftermath of Amazon foraying into the Whole Food world. From renovating its stores to changing locations, buying a meal-kit company to selling off their convenience store business, Kroger GreatPeople.Me has gone a long way to save their dying future against upcoming giants. However, the biggest risk taken by them is partnering with a British online grocery business, Ocado Group Plc. In their partnership, they hope to build twenty fully automated grocery stores in the US to give Kroger a boost in the commercial sector.
While e-commerce has eased out the lives of people, bringing grocery items to online stores is not as easy. Some items have a short life and perish easily; some items need refrigeration, some need to be kept away from humidity while some need to be kept in the dark. As such, I am keeping track of the inventory is almost impossible. Every user orders different items and every delivery is different. And Amazon has successfully taken over this challenge.
Ocado specializes in digital grocery shopping. Recently, it has used a thousand robots in one of its stores that are capable of picking out the selected items and stacking them too. This has helped reduce the cost of manual labour. The robots are designed to perform only a specific task and are even programmed to identify what items should go together in the same packaging. For example, eggs will be packed separately, and cold storage items will be grouped in one and packed separately.
Ever since the inception of automated solutions, the turnover of Ocado has increased manifold. Partnering with Ocado will surely help Kroger gain an advantage in this age of the Internet and automation of things. Other supermarket giants like Walmart and Amazon have yet to implement automation at this level. Another feature that sets Ocado apart is the specialized delivery van where the shelves and racks have been made to efficiently cover every square inch of the space.
Investors have urged Kroger to push their boundaries and venture forth after seeing the disappointing sale figures in recent years. The partnership with the UK based brand will set it apart in the American markets and is going to revolutionize the automated grocery shopping trend.