Co-op expands robot delivery service

Co-op has announced the expansion of its partnership with autonomous delivery company Starship Technologies.

The move comes a year after Co-op announced that it was launching an autonomous delivery service to cover 5,000 households for contactless deliveries in Northampton.

The expanded partnership means that an additional 31,000 households in Northampton will now have access to grocery delivery via Startship’s robot fleet.

Starship has today confirmed that residents in Boothville, Great Billing, Hopping Hill and Spinney Hill will now have access to on-demand grocery delivery from a further three Co-op stores via its robots, which are powered by zero carbon electricity.

The online orders are picked fresh from local Co-op stores, which act as micro-distribution hubs in the community and scheduled to arrive at a convenient time of day.

According to Co-op, it is the first UK supermarket to use autonomous robot deliveries. Deliveries are now made from six Co-op stores in Northampton, communities in Wootton, Upton, Duston, Abington and Weston Favell are already able to benefit from robot deliveries.

Co-op first used Starship robot deliveries in Milton Keynes.

In September Co-op announced plans to accelerate its e-commerce strategy and drive rapid growth in the market for community-based home deliveries, including a new partnership with Amazon and the acceleration of Starship robot deliveries.

“Co-op stores across the country are well placed to serve shoppers locally and a key part of our strategy is to further develop our ecommerce offer by using our store footprint to provide same-day and, rapid, home deliveries,” said Chris Conway, Co-op’s head of e-commerce. “As a convenience retailer, the ability to come into stores will always be important to customers, but we also know that they want flexible options online, and so we are focused on getting closer to where our customers are, to provide what they need, however and wherever they choose to shop with us.”

Andrew Curtis, UK operations manager at Starship Technologies, added: “We are very pleased to bring the benefits of autonomous delivery to thousands more Northampton residents in partnership with Co-op. Since launching our service a year ago we have been moved by the extremely positive reaction to the robots and how they have been embraced as part of the local community.

"While the service has provided the benefits of contactless delivery during the pandemic this past year, we have also seen how people have welcomed the convenience and positive environmental impact of autonomous delivery for ‘top up’ grocery shopping.”

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