Co-op expands robot delivery roll-out 

Nicola Knight
Senior Analyst - Food-To -Go
@IGDShopperNews

Date : 02 June 2020

Co-op is rolling out robot deliveries to further communities across Milton Keynes and surrounding towns and villages in response to increased demand for convenient delivery services during coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions. 

The convenience retailer was the first to trial same-day autonomous robot deliveries in the UK when it teamed-up with Starship Technologies in April 2018, extending the service to a second store a year later. Retail Analysis subscibers can read more about how the service works here.

The service has now been made available in eight Co-op stores, with six new stores added since March. 

Usage and transaction value up during lockdown

Co-op has seen the number of customers using robot deliveries more than double since the start of lockdown, with the value of transactions increasing four-fold as shopping habits change. 

The initiative was originally intended to offer additional choice, ease and convenience for time-pressed shoppers. However, the during lockdown the service has provided a valuable service for vulnerable or housebound members of the community. 

Broader range

Co-op has also focused on developing the range of products available through robot delivery, with shoppers now able to select from around 1,000 everyday essential products and family favourites. 

Support for keyworkers

Usual Starship fees range from £1.49 - £2.49 according to distance travelled, however Starship is currently waiving its delivery charge for NHS workers. The robots were also programmed to pause to “clap and cheer” at 8pm on Thursday evenings in order to “thank” and “recognise” carers and key workers. 

Part of a wider focus on developing same-day delivery capability

Co-op announced earlier this year that it is accelerating its online expansion plans and expects to be able to offer same-day online delivery from more than 650 of its stores in communities across the UK by the end of 2020.  In addition to its own dedicated online shop (coop.co.uk/shop)  and its partnership with third-party delivery aggregator Deliveroo, the retailer recently announced  that it was teaming up with Buymie for a trial in Bristol.

Jason Perry, Co-op Head of Online Development, said: “Quality, ease and convenience is at the core of our approach and we continue to innovate and expand access to our products online in order to offer greater flexibility and choice to meet consumer needs in our communities.” 

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