Cincinnati-based grocer Kroger will start selling online into China through a new partnership with Alibaba, testing some of its natural foods line first as it makes its first international move in the expanding grocery wars.
“Ecommerce enables Kroger to quickly scale to reach new customers and markets where we don’t operate physical stores, starting with China,” said Kroger chief digital officer Yael Kosset in a release.
The online store on Alibaba’s Tmall marketplace will feature the grocer’s Simple Truth line of natural and organic products to begin with.
Kroger had looked at several other markets and partners before settling on Alibaba and its 500 million members on the Tmall platform, which focuses on companies selling into China, the Wall Street Journal reported. Rival Walmart earlier this year bought a 77% stake in India’s leading Flipkart marketplace for $16 billion.
Krogers is the world’s third largest retailer by revenue, with $122.7 billion in 2017 sales. “We are creating the grocery retail model of the future by focusing on digital and technology,” Kosset said.
In other news the company confirmed a pilot program in Scottsdale, AR with partner Nuro, which will involve driverless grocery delivery using Nuro vehicles. The deliveries will be made to the curb of customer’s homes for a flat fee of $5.95 with no minimum purchase. Kroger is also launching same-day delivery in five U.S. markets.