Co-op expands on-demand autonomous robot delivery to thousands more customers

Co-op is dramatically ramping up the use of self-driving delivery robots to thousands more customers after delivery numbers tripled during lockdown.

Co-op, which became the first UK retailer to offer delivery via autonomous robots in 2018, is today rolling out the service to a second UK town and has announced plans to expand its fleet to 300 by the end of 2021.

Around 5000 customers in Northampton will now have access to Co-op’s contactless robot delivery service, which offers thousands of Co-op’s products for on-demand delivery to any location within a three-mile radius of a store.

Shoppers can access the service via the robot manufacturer Starship’ Technology’s app, drop a pin where they want the delivery to be sent, track the robot in real time, then receive an alert allowing them to open its compartment when it has arrived.

Co-op has been testing the service in Milton Keynes for two years, seeing the robots carry out more than 500,000 deliveries during that time, but says it is now looking for further locations to expand its robot delivery service to.

READ MORE: Starship Technologies autonomous delivery robots expand to UK town centres for first time

The initiative comes as Co-op continues to rapidly expand its online delivery offering in response to the pandemic.

While Co-op is now reportedly the most widely available grocery store on Deliveroo, it announced today that it has ambitious plans to offer same-day online delivery and click & collect services from 1000 stores by the end of the year.

This is significantly above its previous estimates of 650 stores made at the start of the year.

“We continue to look for new ways to innovate and expand access to our products and services to deliver a truly compelling offer for consumers,” Co-op’s head of ecommerce Chris Conway said.

“Our partnership with Starship enables Co-op to offer further availability, flexibility and choice to meet community shopping needs for on-demand convenience.

Starship’s head of UK operations Andrew Curtis added: “We have been humbled by the fantastic reception to our robots from local communities in Milton Keynes over the last two and a half years.

“This is the next step in our growth ambitions as Starship looks to further roll out our services across the UK following increasing demand during the pandemic.”

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