UNP Co Op 39907 Emerson Valley.032

Source: Co-op

  • A further two Co-op stores, in New Bradwell and Newport Pagnell, will go live with the service this month

  • Demand for the robot deliveries has more than doubled since lockdown began


Co-op is expanding its autonomous robot delivery service to a further two stores this month, in response to demand that has more than doubled since the start of lockdown.

Available from two stores in Milton Keynes since last year, another six stores in the town were made available for deliveries via the Starship Technologies app in March. Co-op stores in New Bradwell and Newport Pagnell will go live with the service this month.

As well as doubling of the number of customers using robot deliveries, the value of orders delivered by the six-wheeled autonomous bots has increased four-fold “as shopping habits change” Co-op said.

Delivery fees for the robots, which range from £1.49 to £2.49 depending on distance travelled, have been waived for NHS workers. The robots have also been programmed to pause and “clap and cheer” at 8pm on Thursday evenings to recognise the work of carers and key workers.

The robot rollout – which was initially trialled by Co-op in 2018 – has been described as a “lifeline” for vulnerable or housebound members of the community, the convenience retailer 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,” said Jason Perry, Co-op head of online development.

The move is part of Co-op’s ambition to offer same-day online delivery from 650 of its stores by the end of this year. As part of that plan, the company has partnered with courier services Deliveroo and, in Bristol, with Buymie.