Walmart is going to have tough competition, at least in the field of drone delivery service, from rival Kroger. This is because the 2800-store supermarket giant has decided to test a drone delivery service from one of its stores in Centerville in Ohio. The company has inked a deal with Drone Express to provide grocery, baby products, and over-the-counter medication via autonomous drones. Items weighing a maximum of up to five pounds will be delivered during the initial phase. In an official announcement, Kroger said that customer delivery is scheduled to start later this spring. “The company will launch a second pilot this summer at California’s Ralphs store,” Kroger said. Ralph is a banner owned by Kroger.
Apart from off-site monitoring, the flights from a trailer at the store will be monitored by licensed pilots of Drone Express. The company will offer its specially designed bundled products that are most ideal for shoppers and also within the current weight limit. The company has created some bundles like a baby care bundle with wipes and formula and a s’mores bundle with marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers. The company said that the orders can be placed online and products will be delivered within 15 minutes. Kroger has decided to launch the test drone delivery as more and more tech-savvy shoppers are expecting their orders to be delivered almost instantly. “The pilot will help us gain insights that can be used by the company for future expansion as well as customer solutions,” said Kroger’s group vice president of product experience Jody Kalmbach.
Kroger rival Walmart is already working on drone delivery and announced a partnership with Zipline in September 2020. Walmart has announced that its pilot program will start this summer. Flights will be operating within a 50-mile radius of Walmart’s Pea Ridge, Ark., store. Some reports suggested that products that will be delivered by Walmart using drone delivery are health and wellness items. On the other hand, Amazon has built its own Prime delivery drones. Amazon got a Federal Aviation Administration certificate in August 2020.