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Kroger Drives Into Car-Selling Partnership

The retailer isn't selling cars, but can help shoppers save on them
Photograph: Shutterstock

In what officials say will be one of several forthcoming partnerships extending The Kroger Co.’s reach into the services space—and from there, into deeper customer loyalty and higher spending—the Cincinnati-based chain and online car-dealing platform TrueCar have entered into a deal providing Kroger shoppers access to discounts on vehicles and fuel, car-shopping data and other benefits.

The new Kroger Auto Buying Program powered by TrueCar provides comprehensive price context as well as upfront guaranteed savings off the manufacturer’s suggested retail price on new vehicles and discounts on used vehicles, according to the companies.

The deal gives Kroger shoppers access to more than 16,500 TrueCar Certified Dealers. Customers will be able to see what others in their area paid for the new car they want based on recent vehicle transactions, and they will be able to access machine learning-powered price ratings on used vehicle listings. These data and tools will empower Kroger customers to assess price competitiveness on their next vehicle purchase, True Car said.

The program will be open to Kroger customers who shop at stores within Kroger, Dillons, King Soopers, Fred Meyer, QFC (Quality Food Centers), Ralphs and Smith’s, and will be accessible though their associated mobile applications.

Kroger officials said they are looking for partners that help to extend a “seamless” ecosystem to shoppers, noting the beginnings of that movement—combining grocery pickup and delivery a year ago—brought an immediate improvement in average order value and basket sizes of participating shoppers. Speaking during the retailer’s investor day conference, Chief Information Officer Yael Cosset said, "When you bring more experiences together, it has a halo effect, not just on the new experience but also all the adjacent experiences.”

Cosset said Kroger has made it easy for partners to connect with its application through APIs, “bringing more products, more services that they want to engage with under our seamless experience. At no point bringing these experiences need to come at the cost of convenience or simplicity, which is why it is critical to bring the lens from the customer perspective of all the personalization capabilities that we have … simplifying their engagement, simplifying their experience.”

TrueCar said Kroger customers who purchase a vehicle through the new program will be rewarded with a free Fuel VIP membership. This will allow shoppers to earn an extra fuel point for nearly every dollar spent, doubling the money that they can save at the pump.

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