This fall, regional supermarket chain Rouses Markets plans to test an unmanned grocery delivery service using airborne drones.
Rouses has partnered with Boston-based Deuce Drone to conduct the pilot with Deuce’s Aerial Drone Delivery Interface System (ADDIS) at the Southern grocer’s store on Airport Boulevard in Mobile, Ala.
Deuce Drone's system is aimed at solving cost and speed issues in last-mile delivery of online orders. (Image courtesy of Deuce Drone)
In announcing the test on Tuesday, Deuce Drone said its technology provides a last-mile delivery solution for brick-and-mortar retailers by enabling drone shipment directly from stores. Deuce Drone leverages a retailer’s current infrastructure in designing, building and operating the drone delivery system, turning stores offering the service into customer fulfillment centers, according to the company, which added that its cost-effective solution allows retailers to compete with larger e-commerce players on same-day delivery.
Thibodaux, La.-based Rouses already offers online grocery delivery service through Instacart and Shipt, which enable customers to receive their orders at home in as soon as an hour. But according to CEO Donny Rouse, the retailer seeks more convenient and innovative ways to deliver groceries.
“Drone delivery offers the fastest, safest delivery store to door,” Rouse said in a statement. “We should be able to get groceries to customers in 30 minutes, or even less. Plus it’s more cost-efficient, meaning we can save customers time and money.”
To compete with Amazon, brick-and-mortar retailers need high-speed fulfillment for online orders, Deuce Drone said on its website. However, the last mile of delivery to the consumer’s doorstep represents more than half of total delivery cost, while traffic and multiple stops slow the delivery of packages, the company noted.
“We’re excited to partner with Rouses Markets and work together to alter the landscape of home delivery,” stated Rhett Ross, CEO of Deuce Drone.
Overall, Rouses Markets operates 64 supermarkets in three Gulf Coast states, including Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.