Kroger will roll out BrightDrop’s temperature-controlled Trace Grocery e-carts to its stores later in 2022 to help streamline the handling of curbside grocery orders. The retailer recently completed a pilot of the technology at its stores in Lexington and Versailles, Ky., where it experienced an improvement in both the customer and associate experiences.
The carts are designed to enable efficiency and cost savings through a safer, easier and quicker order fulfillment process. The carts can be filled with orders, then stationed at the pickup point to wait for customer retrieval, where shoppers can use a grocer’s fulfillment app to unlock the cart and access their items.
The Trace Grocery carts feature temperature management storage designed to keep food at safe temperatures for up to four hours, propulsion assistance capable of handling up to 350 lbs. of groceries to reduce the physical strain of picking and auto-braking to improve safety. Each cart has nine compartments to enable segmenting items by temperature and product type and is weatherproofed for outdoor use.
“COVID has driven a dramatic increase in online grocery shopping, and fulfilling these orders profitably has become a major challenge for retailers of all sizes,” said Travis Katz, President and CEO of BrightDrop in a statement. “With Trace Grocery, we saw an opportunity to help companies like Kroger tackle these challenges head on.”