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BrightDrop Enters Supermarket Industry With Trace Grocery


Palo Alto, California-based BrightDrop is expanding its business and product portfolio with the launch of Trace Grocery, a new temperature-controlled eCart that helps streamline order fulfillment and pickup for online grocery purchases. 

The announcement Monday about the new product coincided with the opening of Groceryshop in Las Vegas, a massive CPG and grocery event during which the eCart will be on display. 

Online grocery is a rapidly expanding market that’s expected to reach $240 billion by 2025. Kroger, America’s largest grocer, is slated to be the first customer to introduce the BrightDrop Trace Grocery into its e-commerce operations later this year following a successful pilot program in Lexington and Versailles, Kentucky. 


The BrightDrop Trace Platform, including Trace Grocery, is available today. Full-scale availability of the Trace Grocery is expected in 2024, with advanced customizable capabilities planned for future release. 

BrightDrop, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Motors, said it is reimagining the commercial delivery and logistics industry for an all-electric future. Its portfolio of electric vehicles, smart containers and software are designed to decarbonize last-mile deliveries and reduce congestion for a smarter, more sustainable future. 

“COVID has driven a dramatic increase in online grocery shopping, and fulfilling these orders profitably has become a major challenge for retailers of all sizes,” said Travis Katz, BrightDrop’s president and CEO.

“With the Trace Grocery, we saw an opportunity to help companies like Kroger tackle these challenges head on. As online shopping continues to grow, BrightDrop is committed to developing innovative solutions to help our customers keep pace. The Trace Grocery is a perfect example of this.”

Over the past year, BrightDrop has gained insight through a series of rapid prototype builds, market research and customer pilot programs. 

These led to the development, testing, refinement and now commercialization of the Trace Grocery, BrightDrop’s first product purpose-built for online grocery and retail order fulfillment. 

Focused on speeding up online grocery order fulfillment and pickup, Trace Grocery is designed to provide retailers efficiency and cost-savings benefits. Shoppers, in turn, receive the convenience and flexibility they expect from online grocery services. 

Today’s online order fulfillment process involves many steps within the store to identify, collect and store products before putting them in the hands of customers. 

Trace Grocery helps streamline that process for grocers by allowing employees to put orders into the unit before stationing it curbside for customer retrieval. With access given after digital verification, Trace Grocery is compatible with most grocers’ current online fulfillment apps, enabling flexibility for customers when retrieving their purchases. 

The unit’s ability to shift inside and outside of a store, while providing access to customers without an employee present, allows grocers to explore new ways to get products closer to shoppers’ doorsteps. 

Built on the BrightDrop Trace Platform originally designed for last-mile fulfillment, the Trace Grocery features and benefits include:

  • Temperature management to store items at food-safe temperatures for up to four hours;
  • Propulsion-assistance to move up to 350 pounds of groceries, helping reduce physical strain on the labor force;
  • Auto-braking to stop the electric motor that matches an operator’s walking speed up to 3 mph;
  • Nine compartments to segment items by order, temperature and product type for optimized pickups;
  • Flexibility to maneuver inside and outside of a grocer’s store to help reduce costly staging and infrastructure requirements; and
  • Weather-proofing to handle variable temperatures and outdoor elements with ease.

For more information on BrightDrop and its products and services, visit gobrightdrop.com.

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Featured Photo PLMA Annual Private Label Trade Show
Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
Chicago, Illinois
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