Robot grocery deliveries from the Co-op Group are being rolled out to more communities across Milton Keynes and surrounding towns and village.
The Group is the first UK retailer to trial same-day autonomous robot deliveries, after teaming up with Starship Technologies in April 2018.
The number of customers using robot deliveries has more than doubled since the start of lockdown, with the value of transactions increasing four-fold as shopping habits change.
In response to the rising demand, the service has been made available in eight Co-op Group stores, with six new stores added since March.
Starship has also waived its delivery charge for NHS workers during the lockdown period – and programmed the robots to pause to “clap and cheer” at 8pm on Thursday evenings in recognition of carers and key workers.
The robot deliveries were originally introduced to offer additional choice, ease and convenience for time-pressed shoppers. But the Group says the delivery service has now offered lifeline for vulnerable or housebound members of the community.
The Group has also focused on developing the range of products available through robot delivery, with shoppers now able to select from around 1,000 everyday essential products and family favourites.
Jason Perry, head of online development, said: “Quality, ease and convenience is at the core of our approach and we continue to innovate and expand access to our products online in order to offer greater flexibility and choice to meet consumer needs in our communities.”
The Group announced earlier this year that it expects its same-day online delivery offer – including partnerships with Deliveroo, Buymie (in Bristol) and its own online shop which offers delivery or collection slots in as little as two hours – to be available from more than 650 of its stores across the UK by the end of 2020.