- Kroger will pilot package delivery and pickup services at 220 of its stores this year under the name Kroger Package Services, Business Insider first reported. The report didn’t identify specific cities or states for the initiative.
- The company will accept and securely store packages for customers from major carriers including UPS, FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service for the test program. Online training will be provided to Kroger associates to equip them with the necessary skills to assist customers with package services.
- Shoppers will also be able to drop off pre-labeled packages and bring in unboxed items for shipping throughout the U.S., as well as print or purchase shipping labels from automated kiosks.
A Kroger spokesperson told Business Insider that Kroger Package Services is one of several tests going on to offer more seamless customer experience. The service adds convenience for customers and gives them a reason to visit a retail location — and the potential to purchase additional items from the store, according to the report.
Kroger joins a list of food and non-food retailers that have added package services in-store. Rite Aid is the first retail partner for Amazon’s Counter service, which launched in June and allows customers to pick up their Amazon packages at 100 of the pharmacy’s retail locations. Amazon plans to expand the service to 1,500 locations with Rite Aid and other retail partners by year’s end.
FedEx works with tens of thousands of Walgreens, Dollar General and Albertsons stores for package drop-off and pickup. Kohl’s also has a program allowing shoppers to process Amazon returns in stores.
The pilot program is well-timed with the busy holiday shopping season ahead. As grocers dig in deeper to e-commerce efforts and drive more grocery sales online, they need to find ways to maintain in-store sales as well. Auxiliary services like package pickup, pharmacy and health services and in-store dining are essential to keeping customers engaged with the brick-and-mortar experience.