Online Grocery Shopping Service May Be a Reality for Kroger Customers in the Near Future

krogerCustomers of national supermarket chain Kroger may soon buy their groceries in a new way: online.The Kroger Co. is currently testing online shopping platform in one of its Cincinnati stores, with employees trying out the online ordering and in-store pick-up features.

The store, located in Liberty Twp., Ohio, is the first Kroger-branded store in the country to test an online shopping service.

The expansion into online shopping comes from Kroger’s recent acquisition of Harris Teeter Supermarkets Inc., which had the technological capabilities to offer this service.

“Harris Teeter has successfully scaled a click and collect model in their stores and we are learning a lot from them about it,” said Kroger representative Rachael Betzler.

Kroger also recently acquired an online vitamin and health products retailer called Inc., which company representatives also stated could help expand Kroger’s reach on the internet.

Chief Operating Officer Mike Ellis said in a conference call that could use Vitacost’s existing eCommerce platform and “loyal customer base… to create new levels of personalization and convenience for our customers.”In addition to offering the online ordering service at the Liberty Twp. store, Kroger hopes to expand it to others in the Cincinnati/Dayton division. Betzler explained that the Liberty Twp. store was chosen to pilot the program because of its available floor space and high traffic.

Customers so far have expressed interest in using the service — at least for smaller orders, at first. Beth Podnar of Liberty Twp. said that online ordering could be useful if “Maybe something that you forgot, you’re in a rush. You’re baking cookies and you don’t want to go in the Krogers, if they would just have the flour ready at the door for you.”

The service could also be useful, said Podnar, for the elderly, people who have recently had surgery, or those with other medical conditions that limit mobility.

Kroger officials have not set a date to begin offering online shopping.