Kroger testing online grocery ordering and pickup in central Indiana

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CARMEL, Ind. (August 10, 2015)-- Big changes are on the way for how you buy groceries every week for your family. Kroger is bringing online ordering to central Indiana.

The grocery giant is rolling out the online concept in one store for now, but a spokesperson said other stores are coming on board.

It's an idea that other grocers appear to be organizing around, as well.

"We're a traditional retailer in many ways," said John Elliott, with Kroger.

The traditional retailer is taking on the world of online grocery shopping. The company launched online ordering at its Carmel store on Rangeline Road on Sunday.

Customers place their order, select what they want, and then choose a time slot to come get their groceries. Staff walk the aisles, pick the products, scan, and bag them.

Kroger previously tested this service in Cincinnati, its home market. The company plans an expansion throughout the Indianapolis metropolitan area but won't get into specifics about how many stores or where.

"Carmel is the first store in a series. This will not be something necessarily in every Kroger store in the area, but it will be added presuming a successful test here in Carmel. It will be added to other stores in the metro area. We're already starting with plans on some of those stores," said John Elliott, with Kroger. "The sequence of stores that we expand to depends on a successful test in Carmel and approval in each local community."

Kroger announced in April a massive plan to remodel and add stores across central Indiana, an expansion costing $465 million.

"That creates a perfect opportunity while we're remodeling a store to also add in this online setup in the stores," said Elliott.

The company said research shows that orders placed online are typically larger than orders purchased in store. The service costs $4.95, but Kroger is waiving that charge for the first three orders.

"This is Kroger's attempt to try and create a competitive advantage for themselves in the market, said Dan McQuiston, a marketing professor at Butler University, "This is going to be interesting to see how some of the other stores respond to this."

Giant Eagle will open its Market District store in Carmel in the fall. Other locations feature online ordering, and a company spokesperson released this statement:

“Market District offers its Curbside Express online grocery ordering service in select locations in many of our current markets across Pennsylvania and Ohio. We are actively evaluating the potential of introducing the service to Indianapolis consumers with the fall opening of our Carmel location.”

Marsh said Monday they too are close to rolling out an online system, with a spokesperson releasing the following statement:

"We are on the verge of rolling out a program - Instacart - which is also online ordering pick up/ delivery."

WalMart is currently testing an online ordering program in select markets, but Indianapolis is not one of them.

Meijer did not provide any information regarding an online ordering program. Target did not respond to our request.

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