The remote-controlled, battery-operated carts will roll out in Pennsylvania at ShopRite of Yardley first, followed by ShopRite of Bethlehem next month. They will be the first supermarkets in the Northeast to employ this technology.
Wakefern Chairman and CEO Joe Colalillo said in a statement that demand for faster home delivery of groceries is not waning. Teaming up with Tortoise will help ShopRite meet customers’ expectations for quick, efficient delivery.
“Tortoise’s battery-powered cart is a unique, environmentally friendly and cost-effective delivery option for our customers who shop online,” he added.
“Wakefern is our first customer on the East Coast to use this innovative delivery system, and we believe shoppers will love the convenience Tortoise offers,” said Dmitry Shevelenko, Tortoise co-founder. “Our electric cart allows ShopRite associates to focus less on the delivery of products and more on helping customers to improve the shopping experience.”
Tortoise carts travel at an average speed of 3 mph and have almost no emissions. The carts operate on the sidewalk and are controlled by trained remote control drivers. The carts can carry up to 150 pounds, and its lockable containers can accommodate chilled and frozen groceries as well as room-temperature goods. Customers are alerted via text message that their order has arrived, and that message can be used to unlock the containers.
Read more: Tortoise Shifts Automated Delivery Focus
Robotic delivery using Tortoise can save stores 50% to 75% compared to traditional, human-based delivery, according to the Tortoise website.
Delivery Solutions, a firm that helps retailers make the most of delivery services, worked with Tortoise and Wakefern to help the pilot program get off to a good start with real-time order tracking and scheduling.
Manil Uppal, Delivery Solutions founder, said that Tortoise is the most recent fulfillment tool that ShopRite is using to “provide superior customer experiences.”
Headquartered in New Jersey, Wakefern is the largest retailer-owned grocery cooperative in the U.S. and has 363 supermarkets under the ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, Dearborn Market, Gourmet Garage and Fairway Market banners.
Based in Silicon Valley, Tortoise was founded in 2019 and also collaborates with convenience store operator Urban Value Corner Store in Dallas and supermarket giant Albertsons Cos. in Northern California.