- Kroger has partnered with Google to offer pickup service functionality through the tech company’s popular Maps app across 96 stores in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, a spokesperson for the tech company said.
- Shoppers can add their order to Google Maps, which will remind them when it’s time to head to the store and then share their arrival time with the grocer. The companies began offering the same service at select Fred Meyer stores beginning in June.
- Both Kroger and Albertsons are integrating their pickup programs with Google Maps as they seek new ways to boost convenience and reach new shoppers.
Kroger has funneled in droves of new shoppers during the pandemic thanks to its pickup service, which had scaled up to most of its stores even before the health crisis began and had fees waived after COVID-19 started spreading.
Now the grocer is looking for new ways to continue that momentum, and Google Maps offers one promising avenue. According to Google, more than 1 billion consumers use the app, while Statista reported that more than 23 million people in the U.S. downloaded it in 2020. Google and Kroger noted that searches for “curbside pickup” through Maps rose nearly 9,000% this March compared to a year ago.
Kroger’s expanding integration with Google Maps could bring shoppers searching for pickup to its doorstep. It’s also a way for those who regularly use the app to manage their orders. After loading their order and eventually navigating to the store, users can then let workers know they’ve arrived by checking in through the app.
The integration, which includes 78 stores in Ohio, 16 in Kentucky and two in Indiana, comes as families prepare for back-to-school season. It’s also rolling out as the delta variant continues to spread across the U.S., bringing a return of masking rules and, quite likely, an online shopping surge.
A Google spokesperson said the company plans to add Maps pickup functionality, which is part of a broader refresh for the app, across additional Kroger banners and to other retailers later this year.
The tech company is taking advantage of the rapid digital shift across grocery. In March, Albertsons announced it would offer a suite of digital tools through Google, including online ordering tools through Maps and Search, along with chatbots, list-building and Google Pay integrations. In June, Hy-Vee announced it had signed a multi-year deal with Google’s cloud division to fuel online and in-store services.