Co-op partners with Amazon and extends robot delivery service

The autonomous robot delivery service is being extended

Co-op is partnering with Amazon and extending robot deliveries as it seeks to more than double online sales by the end of the year.

The robot delivery service run by Starship Enterprises has been operating successfully in Milton Keynes.

The new partnership - launched today in Scotland- and robot rollout are key to Co-op's plans to speed up "rapid kerb to kitchen grocery delivery services" as it strives to lift online sales from £70 million to £200 million.

The alliance allows Amazon Prime customers to do their full Co-op grocery shop on with same-day delivery and two-hour scheduled time slots. It aims to make the service UK wide by the end of the year.

Co-op is also extending its partnership with Starship Technologies, the robot company launched by the co-founders of Skype, which allows the delivery of groceries in as little as 20 minutes.

The convenience retailer will increase the number of autonomous vehicles operating and delivering Co-op groceries from 200 to 500 by the end of this year, extending them from Milton Keynes and Northampton to Cambridgeshire and then into the North of England.

The pandemic has fuelled a surge in online shopping.

Just last year Amazon announced that it was starting a recruitment drive at its Cambridge technology base. The firm said it needed to hire dozens of engineers to develop autonomous deliveries in the UK, after online shopping took off during lockdown.

The Amazon Scout delivery robot

The company established a new team in Cambridge to focus on Amazon Scout, it's small self-driven delivery vehicle.

The Scout rolls along the pavement at walking pace, delivering to a customer's door.

Co-op group chief executive Steve Murrells said: "The pandemic has accelerated changes in consumer shopping trends and we're driving forward with exciting plans to provide rapid kerb to kitchen grocery delivery services."

Starship technologies has been running its service in Milton Keynes in partnership with the co-op since 2018. Last year after seeing a surge in demand during the pandemic, the scheme was introduced in Northampton.