Grocery store chain The Kroger Co. and its Denver-based King Soopers division have launched KingSoopers.com/LiveNaturally. The new e-commerce site initially will serve the greater Denver metro area, allowing customers to shop for over 36,000 natural and organic products, including food, vitamins and supplements, makeup and skincare items, home goods, pet food and supplies, and baby products.
Kroger, No. 92 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide, calls the launch the next step in its omnichannel evolution, following its acquisition of web-only vitamin merchant Vitacost.com in August. Kroger’s web sales rose about 7% to an Internet Retailer-estimated $410 million in 2014.
“King Soopers has a long heritage of leading in the natural and organics space, so we are excited to launch our pilot in Denver,” says Kroger vice president of digital and Vitacost Kevin Dougherty. “KingSoopers.com/LiveNaturally extends the in-store shopping experience to create a true ‘endless aisle’ experience with ship-to-home service for thousands more healthy foods, vitamins, minerals and supplements than are available in our stores today.” The term “endless aisle” refers to a retailer’s ability to offer more products online than it can in a typical store. KingSoopers.com/LiveNaturally will use the same in-house e-commerce platform and fulfillment network of Vitacost.com. It will also use the buy online, pick up in store technology developed for southeastern grocery chain Harris Teeter, which Kroger acquired in January 2014.
Neil Saunders, CEO of retail research agency and consulting firm Conlumino, says the e-commerce launch represents an advance for Kroger’s plan to reach consumers online and well as through its stores.
“This could be an exciting development for Kroger and one which helps it to develop a true omnichannel presence,” Saunders says. “Meanwhile, the acquisition of Vitacost.com, which offers healthy and natural products online, has also helped Kroger to expand its digital footprint.”
Kroger said it will test the new KingSoopers e-commerce site in Denver before deciding whether to expand the offering to other markets.