Kroger Co., which saw its 13-year streak of same-store sales increases come to an end last week, sees digital as an important step forward, according to remarks from company chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen during a fourth-quarter earnings call.
McMullen noted that Kroger aggressively added more than 420 ClickList and ExpressLane locations in 2016, which put the company’s total online ordering locations to nearly 650.
“This effort was based on learnings from our merger with Harris Teeter,” McMullen said. “We are also experimenting with ways to solve the last mile equation.”
Kroger is currently testing with Uber deliver in several locations, McMullen said, with plans to expand this year. Customers can order through ClickList and have their selections delivered by an Uber driver.
“As our customers change and evolve, we are taking steps to meet them where they are and more importantly where they are going,” McMullen said. “We’re making meaningful investments in digital. We feel great about these investments because customers tell us they are important to them … We’re building our digital experiences today so that customers can engage and show for anything, anytime, anywhere with us in the future.”
McMullen said he has seen an increase in the number of customers connecting digitally with Kroger and the company is leveraging refined customer insights from data analysis firm 84.51, as well as the online shopping experience from Vitacost.com and Harris Teeter.
“We’re utilizing this rich data set to make decisions about where the right locations to offer ClickList, what are the right assortments and promotions to engage customers online , and how can we offer the quality and convenience online that customers have come to expect from a Kroger brick-and-mortar location.”