ShopRite to offer robot delivery in Penn.

A Tortoise delivery robot outside the company's headquarters.

Written by James Shea

ShopRite, a division of Wakefern Food Corp., plans to begin testing robot delivery at two stores in Pennsylvania.

The robots, built by Tortoise, are controlled remotely and allow ShopRite to offer same-day delivery. The tests are set to begin in October.

“We are excited to launch this revolutionary new technology,” said Wakefern chairman and CEO Joe Colalillo. “Demand for ever-faster home delivery continues to increase, and we believe this provides another innovative way for ShopRite customers to receive their groceries quickly and efficiently. Tortoise’s battery-powered cart is a unique, environmentally-friendly and cost-effective delivery option for our customers who shop online.”

With an average speed of three miles per hour, the remote-controlled carts typically travel on sidewalks or the side of the road. Remote drivers operate the vehicles. The delivery cart can hold up to 150 pounds, and Tortoise claims that the robots reduce the cost per delivery by as much as $11 when compared to a car and human driver.

“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,” Tortoise co-founder Dmitry Shevelenko said.  “Our electric cart allows ShopRite associates to focus less on the delivery of products and more on helping customers to improve the shopping experience.”

Delivery Solutions, which specializes in helping retailers with online delivery services, worked with Wakefern and Tortoise to support the new delivery robots. It provided real-time order tracking and scheduling.

“We are excited to deliver on our promise to futureproof fulfillment for ShopRite,” said Manil Uppal, founder of Delivery Solutions. “Tortoise is the latest in a series of fulfillment options ShopRite will orchestrate against to provide superior customer experiences.”

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