Southern grocer Greer’s Markets plans to offer customers drone delivery service via a technology development partnership with Deuce Drone Inc.
Mobile, Ala.-based startup Deuce Drone said yesterday that flights are slated to begin in November between the Greer’s Market store on St. Louis Street in Mobile and business incubator Innovation Portal, which has provided funding to Deuce, to finalize the drones’ autonomous flight and package handling systems.
Deuce Drone noted that its last-mile drone delivery solution aims to turn retail stores into customer fulfillment centers. (Photo courtesy of Deuce Drone)
“We are already invested in curbside pickup and delivery and look forward to offering an additional delivery option with Deuce Drone,” Lucy Greer, corporate spokeswoman for Mobile-based Greer’s Markets, said in a statement. “We continue to focus on technological advancements that make shopping Greer’s in-store and online advantageous to all consumers.”
The last-mile delivery drones will be operated in the under 55-pound category, carrying a payload of up to 10 pounds, Deuce reported.
For Greer’s customers, the same-day service will work as follows: Orders are placed via Deuce’s mobile app, the grocer prepares the packages, which then are submitted to a dronewaiter and loaded at the the drone port. The drone flies at a speed of 30 mph to the destination, and the order is delivered to the exact location with a QR code, with the drone returning to its port after the delivery.
Deuce noted that its drone delivery solution is designed to leverage retailers’ current infrastructure, transforming stores into customer fulfillment centers and enabling them to compete with larger e-commerce players.
“We are excited to partner with Greer’s Markets. Our engagement presents an excellent opportunity to apply our technology in an urban setting,” according Bill Haub, senior director at Deuce Drone. “Our previous demonstration flights have proven that we are able to overcome many difficult challenges facing drone delivery. This development partnership is a great next step in Deuce Drone’s growth by providing the possibility of seamlessly transitioning to delivery service in downtown Mobile.”
Overall, Greer’s operates 29 supermarkets in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi under the Greer’s Market (four stores), Greer’s CashSaver (24 stores) and Greer’s Food Tiger (one store) banners. Five locations (four in Alabama and one in Mississippi) also house Greer’s Ace Hardware outlets.
Other grocery retailers that have tested drone delivery service include Rouses Markets (with Deuce Drone), Walmart (with DroneUp and Flytrex) and The Kroger Co. (with Drone Express).