Co-op to expand its automated robot delivery service
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Co-op has announced a partnership with Amazon to bring its customers deliveries using automated robots.
The moves are part of a plan to more than double online sales from £70m to £200m by the end of the year, Co-op said.
Partnering with robot delivery company Starship Technologies, groceries can be delivered in as little as 20 minutes alongside a “dramatic reduction” in carbon emissions, Co-op claimed.
It originally launched a trial version of the service in 2018 in Milton Keynes before expanding to other towns and cities.
The retailer now plans to increase the number of autonomous vehicles operating and delivering Co-op groceries from 200 to 500 by the end of this year, bringing them to five new towns and cities, including Cambridgeshire and extending the service into the North of England. Shoppers using the service will be able to choose from 3,000 grocery items.
Co-op saw the number of customers using robot deliveries more than double after the imposition of Covid-19 lockdowns last year, with the value of transactions increasing four-fold as shopping habits changed.
The partnership with Amazon gives Prime customers the ability to do their full Co-op grocery shop on Amazon.co.uk, with same-day delivery and two-hour scheduled time slots.
Steve Murrells, group chief executive of Co-op, said: “The pandemic has accelerated changes in consumer shopping trends and we’re driving forward with exciting plans to provide rapid kerb-to-kitchen grocery delivery services.
“We are delighted to be working with Amazon. Its reach and leading technology and innovative approach means greater convenience for people in their communities. This, combined with our extended partnership with Starship Technologies, marks a significant milestone in our online strategy.”
Jo Whitfield, chief executive of Co-op Food, said: “Co-op stores across the country are well placed to serve shoppers locally and a key part of our strategy is to further develop our ecommerce offer by using the competitive advantage of our store footprint to provide ultra-fast home deliveries”.
Amazon launched its own project to carry out automated deliveries via drones back in 2016 with support from the UK Government. However, although the testing phase was deemed successful, a full service has never been launched to customers.
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