Kroger is flexing on Apple and Google this week, passing on the opportunity to accept Apple Pay or Google Pay at its stores and choosing instead to launch its own mobile wallet that doubles as a loyalty card, WCPO reported in Columbus.
The distinction between real-world supermarkets and online-only grocers has come down to price. The introduction of a new technology to lower prices for consumers may be what the industry needs to finally push it past the tipping point.
Among Kroger’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.
Microsoft and Kroger are teaming up, challenging Amazon’s dominance in grocery innovation and pushing back against its takeover of an increasing number of corporate verticals, including cloud infrastructure in the form of Amazon Web Services. (Street Fight’s Mike Boland has predicted that Amazon will sell its grocery tech just as it’s done with AWS, taking an in-house innovation and transforming it into a cash cow.)
Amazon is planning a substantial expansion of its Whole Foods grocery stores, a move that will aim to put much of the nation’s deep-pocketed customers in range of its two-hour delivery service, Prime Now. Under the proposed changes, reported in the Wall Street Journal, Prime Now would become available from all Whole Foods stores.
To learn more about what supermarkets should be doing to meet rising consumer expectations, and what brick-and-mortar stores can learn from their online-only counterparts, we caught up with Pradeep Elankumaran, CEO of Farmstead, a pure-play digital grocer that brings local groceries to doorsteps.
The percentage of grocery purchases influenced by digital media nearly doubled last year, and by 2025 roughly one-fifth of U.S. grocery sales are expected to happen online. Now it’s time for technology vendors to step in with new innovations, so that the industry can continue to evolve. Here are five firms working to change the way we buy groceries right now.