Kroger, Uber and The Tripartite Nature of Online Groceries

The supermarket giant Kroger is deploying Uber to deliver groceries.

Right now, it looks like the whole industry (all of online retail, not just groceries) will become tripartite:

  • Large online retailers / platform players like Amazon will build the whole infrastructure for themselves, including logistics (Traditional parcel services plus Amazon Flex etc.)
  • Smaller merchants will use those as one-stop-shops for distribution (marketplace) and delivery (logistics, duh). Some of today’s obvious candidates for those one-stop-shops are: Amazon Marketplace, Prime Now for local merchants (bakeries, butcher shops, etc.), Taobao for China, Zalando for fashion in Europe
  • Larger retailers (and most, if not almost all legacy (brick-and-mortar) retailers) will partner with companies like Uber, Postmates and Instacart. They need a consistent user experience across the regions they operate in but they don’t have the organizational processes and will power to build the infrastructure themselves.

So, it makes sense that Kroger is experimenting with using Uber for this.


Kroger’s streak of quarterly same-store gains has ended after 13 years, but the supermarket giant is intent on starting a new run. Part of the strategy may come in tests the company is running “to solve the last mile equation” for grocery consumers including a home delivery pilot with Uber, according to Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen (via Seeking Alpha). […]

“We’re testing with Uber delivery in several locations with plans to expand in 2017 where our customers can order through ClickList and choose to have their groceries delivered by a local Uber driver,” said Mr. McMullen on Kroger’s earnings call last week. “We have a couple of other home delivery tests as well,” he added. […]

Until now, Kroger has concentrated its online efforts on ClickList, its ordering and in-store pickup system. Last year the company announced plans to offer the service at up to 1,200 stores, approximately 45 percent of its locations. Kroger is slightly more than halfway to its goal with 640 stores currently offering the service.

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