Following a year of announcements about the company’s tech-forward innovation in the grocery industry, Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen took to the stage at 2019’s National Retail Federation show last week to walk the audience through cutting-edge approaches to the grocery business, Digital Commerce 360 reported.
At the NRF, McMullen emphasized the need for an omnichannel approach at a time when customers are becoming ever more accustomed to convenience and don’t necessarily display a steadfast preference for either online or offline commerce.
“The customer showed us they love the in-store experience and they love the online experience and they don’t distinguish between the two. It’s all about ‘what is my need at this point in time,’” McMullen said.
With that in mind, and with deep-pocketed competitors like Amazon trying their best to take the lead in tech-driven grocery innovation, Kroger has pursued forward-thinking partnerships that allow it to offer a customer experience just as convenient as the one the company that pioneered two-day and now two-hour delivery can offer.
A digital shelving partnership with Microsoft, driverless grocery delivery test with Nuro, and partnership with Walgreens whereby it sets up mini grocery stores inside Walgreens’ brick-and-mortar pharmacies are just a few of the big announcements from Kroger in the past 12 months.
Among the company’s latest innovation is a partnership with online grocer Ocado. Kroger is licensing Ocado’s technology—the only grocer in the United States to do so—in order to benefit from its digital-native mastery of automated warehouse operations and on-demand delivery. The company will be expanding its number of warehouses powered by Ocado’s technology in 2019.
Joe Zappa is Street Fight’s managing editor.