Robot shopping deliveries to be expanded into Cambridgeshire

Robots will be delivering shopping in Cambridgeshire as pioneering projects between the Co-op, technology firm Starship and Amazon are rolled out to new areas.

Thursday, 16th September 2021, 3:27 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th September 2021, 3:35 pm

Co-op is partnering with Amazon and extending robot deliveries as it seeks to more than double online sales by the end of the year.

The new partnership and robot rollout are key to Co-op’s plans to speed up “rapid kerb to kitchen grocery delivery services” as it strives to lift online sales from £70 million to £200 million.

The alliance allows Amazon Prime customers to do their full Co-op grocery shop on with same-day delivery and two-hour scheduled time slots for free on orders over £40 and £3.99 for orders under £40, with a minimum shop of £15.

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Co-op has announced a partnership with Amazon and extension of robot deliveries to fuel online sales.

The partnership launches in Glasgow on Thursday, including surrounding areas such as Hamilton and Paisley, and will be rolled out to other parts of the UK before the end of the year, with the aim of it becoming a nationwide service at an unconfirmed date.

Co-op is also extending its partnership with Starship Technologies, the robot company launched by the co-founders of Skype, which allows the delivery of groceries in as little as 20 minutes.

The convenience retailer will increase the number of autonomous vehicles operating and delivering Co-op groceries from 200 to 500 by the end of this year, extending them from Milton Keynes and Northampton to Cambridgeshire and then into the North of England.

The delivery robots are a familiar sight on streets in Northampton and Milton Keynes, the video above shows a delivery taking place in Northampton.

Co-Op's Home Delivery Robot in operation.

Co-op group chief executive Steve Murrells said: “The pandemic has accelerated changes in consumer shopping trends and we’re driving forward with exciting plans to provide rapid kerb to kitchen grocery delivery services.

“We are delighted to be working with Amazon. Its reach and leading technology and innovative approach means greater convenience for people in their communities.

“This, combined with our extended partnership with Starship Technologies, marks a significant milestone in our online strategy.”

Jo Whitfield, chief executive of Co-op Food, said: “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 e-commerce offer by using the competitive advantage of our store footprint to provide ultra-fast home deliveries.

Two delivery robots pass on the pavement as they make home deliveries of groceries from a Co-op food store in Milton Keynes, England. Created by two of the co-founders of Skype in 2014, Starship has developed the self-driving pods to carry out a number of logistical tasks, with the ability to travel up to three miles, avoiding obstacles while negotiating roads and people as they move. The company claims that the robots have travelled over 100,000 miles in tests at sites across the world. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images).

“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. Our commercial strategy is focused on getting closer to where they are to provide what they need, however and wherever they choose to shop with us.”

One of the Starship delivery robots.