GM’s BrightDrop Launches eCart for Online Grocery Shopping, Partners with Kroger

BrightDrop, the fleet mobility business of Detroit’s General Motors Co., is expanding its business and product portfolio with the launch of a new temperature-controlled eCart designed to streamline order fulfillment and pickup for online grocery purchases.
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The fleet mobility business of GM, BrightDrop, has debuted the Trace Grocery for temperature-controlled storage for online grocery shopping. // Courtesy of BrightDrop
The fleet mobility business of GM, BrightDrop, has debuted the Trace Grocery for temperature-controlled storage for online grocery shopping. // Courtesy of BrightDrop

BrightDrop, the fleet mobility business of Detroit’s General Motors Co., is expanding its business and product portfolio with the launch of a new temperature-controlled eCart designed to streamline order fulfillment and pickup for online grocery purchases.

Online grocery is a rapidly expanding market that’s expected to reach $240 billion by 2025. Kroger, America’s largest grocer, is slated to be the first customer to introduce the BrightDrop Trace Grocery into its e-commerce operations, beginning this year.

“COVID has driven a dramatic increase in online grocery shopping, and fulfilling these orders profitably has become a major challenge for retailers of all sizes,” says Travis Katz, president and CEO of BrightDrop.

“With the Trace Grocery, we saw an opportunity to help companies like Kroger tackle these challenges head on. As online shopping continues to grow, BrightDrop is committed to developing innovative solutions to help our customers keep pace. The Trace Grocery is a perfect example of this.”

BrightDrop gained information through a series of rapid prototype builds, market research, and customer pilot programs over the past year. These insights led to the development, testing, refinement and now commercialization of the Trace Grocery, BrightDrop’s first product purpose-built for online grocery and retail order fulfillment.

Focused on speeding up online grocery order fulfillment and pickup, the Trace Grocery is designed to provide retailers the efficiency and cost-savings benefits their businesses need, and the shopper the convenience and flexibility they expect from online grocery services.

Today’s online order fulfillment process involves many steps within the store to identify, collect, and store products before putting them in the hands of customers. Trace Grocery helps streamline that process for grocers by allowing employees to put orders directly into the unit before stationing it curbside for customer retrieval.

With access given after digital verification, Trace Grocery is compatible with most grocers existing online fulfillment apps, enabling flexibility for customers when retrieving their purchases.

The unit’s ability to easily move inside and outside of a store, while providing access to customers without an employee present, allows grocers to explore new ways to get products closer to shoppers’ doorsteps.

Built on the BrightDrop Trace Platform originally designed for last-mile fulfillment, the Trace Grocery features and benefits include temperature management to store items at food-safe temperatures for up to four hours and propulsion-assistance to move up to 350 pounds of groceries, helping reduce physical strain on the labor force.

It also features auto-braking to stop the electric motor that matches an operator’s walking speed up to 3 miles-per-hour. It contains nine compartments to segment items by order, temperature, and product type for optimized pickups along with flexibility to easily maneuver inside and outside of a grocer’s store to help reduce costly staging and infrastructure requirements. It can work in all conditions with weatherproofing to handle variable temperatures and outdoor elements.

BrightDrop and Kroger completed an initial pilot program in Lexington and Versailles, Ken. During this pilot, Kroger experienced a noticeable improvement in the customer and associate experience. As a result, Kroger is now slated to be the first customer of the Trace Grocery with the first stores receiving units later this year.

For more information on BrightDrop and its products and services, visit gobrightdrop.com.

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