Kroger Goes Nationwide With Boost Online Subscription Program

0
22

The Kroger Co. has gone national with its Boost by Kroger online benefits program eight months after announcing its debut.

Cincinnati-based Kroger said that it has piloted the Boost subscription in four divisions and seen a rising number of new members and a “significant increase” in delivery sales versus non-Boost divisions, leading the company to launch the program nationally. When unveiling Boost in early November, Kroger said it initially rolled out the program to its Cincinnati-Dayton, Columbus, Atlanta and Central (Indianapolis) business units, with plans to deploy it to more regions in 2022.

“As customers continue to evolve how they shop and eat, this expansion of our loyalty program offers more personalized value in groceries and fuel, alongside easier access to convenient shopping solutions, such as Delivery,” Yael Cosset, senior vice president and chief information officer at Kroger, said in a statement. “We are committed to consistently delivering a best-in-class seamless experience with zero compromise — the fresh and quality products our customers want, how they want it and when they want it. We recognize this is especially important as our customers face an inflationary environment and rising fuel prices.”

Boost is offered in two membership tiers, priced at $59 or $99 annually. All members get free delivery for online orders of $35 or more and double fuel points (up to $1 off per gallon of gasoline) for each dollar spent on groceries and general merchandise. The $59 annual membership provides delivery within 24 hours, while the $99-per-year option offers delivery in as soon as two hours.

Those signing up for either Boost membership tier get a one-time welcome kit valued at over $100, with offers from Home Chef, Murray’s Cheese, Vitacost and The Kroger Co.’s “Our Brands” private labels, including Simple Truth and Private Selection. Kroger said the kit offsets the first-year membership cost when introducing Boost.

In announcing the national rollout, Kroger estimated that a Boost membership could save customers more than $1,000 per year on fuel and grocery delivery.

“Boost contributes to our rapidly expanding seamless ecosystem, bringing value and convenience to many more families across America as we roll out new Delivery fulfillment centers,” commented Bill Bennett, vice president and head of e-commerce at Kroger. “Through Boost, Kroger is uniquely positioned to be ‘Fresh for Everyone,’ making grocery delivery accessible to more customers through the industry’s most-affordable grocery delivery membership program. Combine this with our industry-leading fuel points program, we are confident we have built a differentiated membership program that our customers will love.”

Boost has a potentially massive market reach. The nation’s largest supermarket operator, Kroger operates about 2,800 grocery and multi-department stores in 35 states under more than 20 banners, including Kroger, Ralphs, Dillons, Smith’s, King Soopers, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, QFC, City Market, Owen’s, Jay C, Pay Less, Baker’s, Gerbes, Harris Teeter, Pick ‘n Save, Metro Market, Mariano’s, Food 4 Less and Foods Co. About 9 million people shop with The Kroger Co. daily, and the retailer generates 2.8 billion annual visits and serves 60 million U.S. households.

The expansion of Boost also bolsters Kroger’s ability to compete online with larger rivals Walmart and Amazon, which also have recently sweetened the appeal of their online customer benefit programs.

A week ago, for example, Walmart announced that it’s bringing its “food to fridge” InHome Delivery Service into the fold of its Walmart+ membership program. Meanwhile, Amazon in late June said members of its Prime benefits program will now get a 20% discount at Amazon Fresh supermarkets on selected everyday items. And about a week later, Amazon unveiled a partnership with Grubhub in which US Prime members can sign up for a free trial of the restaurant delivery service that will provide a year of access to unlimited, $0 delivery fees. The offer stems from an agreement that Amazon could attain a more than 15% equity stake in Grubhub.