Grocer Kroger launches new delivery service

The Kroger Co. announced today the launch of its new e-commerce grocery delivery service, Kroger Ship, which will allow customers to shop online for their favorite Kroger brands and get deliveries as quick as the next day in certain areas.

Not to be confused with the grocer’s Kroger Delivery service, which partners with Instacart to home-deliver groceries to customers from local store locations within two hours, Kroger Ship will help shoppers stock-up on necessary non-perishables like toilet paper and peanut butter.

To start, the delivery service will launch in four cities across the Midwest and South: Cincinnati, Houston, Louisville and Nashville. That’s just a small selection of the grocery company’s 2,800 store fleet and 35-state reach. During the first phase of Kroger Ship’s implementation, customers will be able to choose from a “curated selection” of 4,500 Our Brands products, as well as a selection of 50,000 household essentials.

All Kroger Ship deliveries will be fulfilled through the company’s two fulfillment centers — located in Nevada and North Carolina — and will work in partnership with FedEx and USPS to ship deliveries, according to information provided to TechCrunch in an email by Kroger’s head of Corporate Communications and Media Relations. The company also has plans to break ground this fall on a new fulfillment center in Kentucky, with more centers possible in the future as Kroger Ship grows.

During its launch, Kroger Ship will offer free deliveries for all purchases, as well as 15 percent off customers’ first orders with a one-time promotional code. Post launch, orders over $35 will ship for free ($4.99 shipping otherwise) and the service will offer exclusive promotional deals and codes to Ship users.

While Kroger has a pretty firm foothold when it comes to brick-and-mortar groceries (in 2016, the National Retail Federation named it the third largest retailer in the world behind Walmart and Costco), Kroger is joining a crowded online grocery delivery space.

In addition to competition Kroger Delivery already faces from same-day delivery, corporate partnerships like Target and Shipt, Walmart and Postmates and Prime Now fulfillment of Whole Foods deliveries through Amazon, Kroger’s Ship service faces competition from wholesalers like Costco and its two-day nationwide non-perishable delivery service. In its own attempt at buddy-ing with a similar wholesaler, Boxed, Kroger’s $400 million acquisition offer was denied this March.