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Online grocery: DHL exits Amazon Fresh partnership as Cleveron launches click and collect robot

The online grocery delivery sector has seen mixed fortunes this month as DHL exited a key partnership while Estonia’s Cleveron launched a new robot for click and collect.

DHL confirmed in an email to eDelivery that it had stopped working with Amazon Fresh in Germany, citing concerns over the size of the market.

The firm said the market for online fresh food orders had “so far fallen far short of expectations”.

DHL began delivering fresh food in 2016. The company also has its own online supermarket Allyouneed Fresh in the country.

Amazon Fresh itself has seen mixed fortunes. From 22 August, the ecommerce giant expanded AmazonFresh to three new cities. However, it was forced to pull out of some postal codes in New York and California in 2017.

Despite DHL’s concerns over the sector, last week saw Cleveron introduce a new click and collect robot which enables customers to collect grocery orders.

The key innovation is that the robot offers two temperature zones, one for perishables and another for frozen goods. The customer collects their groceries by scanning or entering the order code at the console after which the robot will present their order.

Cleveron’s CEO Arno Kütt said: “Cleveron is known for creating innovative click and collect solutions for the world’s biggest retailers. With Cleveron 501, we are going one step further and entering the grocery click and collect market. The principles of our robots remain the same – they will save time for everyone.

“Time is one of the most valuable resources, and it shouldn’t be wasted queuing in stores or waiting for a courier at home. With Cleveron 501 you can pick up your everyday groceries whenever and wherever it is suitable for you. The potential for grocery robots is also tremendous – grocery delivery can now move closer to the consumers and offer a much-needed service in places where it has previously been unattainable, like in business districts, where there is not enough room for supermarkets.”

According to IGD, the ten leading online grocery markets will see compound annual growth rates of 20.4% between 2018 and 2023, with China set to see the highest growth at 31%.

UPDATE: In a comment emailed to eDelivery, an Amazon spokesperson said: “We are pleased with positive feedback that we continue to receive from our customers about AmazonFresh. We regularly review our offering to ensure we provide the best customer experience on the things we believe customers will always care about – low prices, vast selection, and fast delivery – and work hard to provide all three, all the time. We don’t comment on relationships with suppliers.”

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