Kroger Partners With University of Cincinnati to Open Innovation Lab
Kroger is taking another major step to position itself ahead of competitors when it comes to e-commerce in the grocery industry. The company recently signed an agreement with the University of Cincinnati to operate an innovation lab at the college’s 1819 Innovation Hub. The goal of the partnership is to help Kroger continue to develop the future of the grocery industry while giving college students an opportunity to develop technology skills. Kroger will staff the university’s hub with R&D engineers, software developers and other resources. There will also be a co-op and internship program for University of Cincinnati students.
Total Retail's Take: The growth of online grocery shopping is forcing traditional retailers in the space, such as Kroger, to look for ways to bolster their digital offerings. By partnering with the University of Cincinnati to open an innovation lab at the school's campus, Kroger is addressing two needs: one, it's working to develop technologies that will make shopping with the retailer easier and more convenient for today's increasingly tech-savvy consumers and, two, it's establishing a potential talent pipeline to recruit through the co-op and internship program. Kroger has been proactive in adapting its business for the changes in consumer behavior we've seen in recent years, including a partnership with Instacart for delivery of online orders; the expansion of ClickList, its buy online, pick up in-store service; and the opening of a separate headquarters in Cincinnati for its digital team. With the entrance of Amazon.com into the grocery category, Kroger is wisely investing in improving and growing its digital offerings.