The move puts Kroger alongside its big box-store competitors--including Walmart, CVS and Amazon--which have all tested drone deliveries. Kroger’s pilot will bring orders to customers based on their smartphone locations, which doesn’t have to be a residence and can include public parks and elsewhere. The order options for drone delivery will include product bundles, from baby care packages to s’mores kits.
The program will start testing in Centerville, Ohio, a Kroger marketplace, with customers scheduled to start receiving drone deliveries later this spring. A second market in California is expected to open this summer, according to RIS.
Kroger’s drone program will be managed by Drone Express, a division of TELEGRID Technologies, with flights operated by licensed Drone Express and FAA-certified pilots.
“The pilot reinforces the importance of flexibility and immediacy to customers, powered by modern, cost-effective and efficient last-mile solutions,” Jody Kalmbach, Kroger group VP of product experience, said in a statement. “We’re excited to test drone delivery and gain insights that will inform expansion plans as well as future customer solutions.