The convenience retailer became the first to trial same-day autonomous robot deliveries in the UK when it teamed-up with Starship Technologies in April 2018 to offer the emission free online home delivery service.
Co-op has seen the number of customers using robot deliveries more than double since the start of lockdown, with the value of transactions increasing four-fold as shopping habits change.
The service has now been made available in eight Co-op stores, with six new stores added since March. With Starship waiving its delivery charge for NHS workers during the lockdown period. The robots were also programmed to pause to “clap and cheer” at 8pm on Thursday evenings in order to “thank” and “recognise” carers and key workers.
The move was originally intended to offer additional choice, ease and convenience for time-pressed shoppers. However, the popular delivery service was soon described as a “lifeline” for vulnerable or housebound members of the community.
Co-op has also focussed on developing the range of products available through robot delivery, with shoppers now able to select from around 1,000 everyday essential products and family favourites.
Jason Perry, Co-op head of online development, said: “Quality, ease and convenience is at the core of our approach and we continue to innovate and expand access to our products online in order to offer greater flexibility and choice to meet consumer needs in our communities.”
Co-op announced earlier this year that it expects its same-day online delivery offer including partnerships with Deliveroo, Buymie (in Bristol) and, its own dedicated online shop (coop.co.uk/shop) - which offers delivery or collection slots in as little as two hours with products picked by Co-op store’s locally - to be available from more than 650 of its stores in communities across the UK by the end of 2020.