Kroger (NYSE:KR) has been making up for lost ground since 2018. Clearly not an early adopter on the digital front, the nationwide grocer's app engagement took off in earnest around the beginning of 2018.
In the time since, Kroger has developed its own brand into a digital juggernaut with about double the Apple Store ($AAPL) reviews submitted than Amazon, and the Seattle tech giant's Whole Foods app - combined. That's right: a brick-and-mortar grocer from Cincinnatti is now growing its Apple review engagement faster than Jeff Bezos' e-commerce juggernaut.
Best of all, it isn't just Kroger that's been cranking up the digital engagement. It's virtually every single grocery store that operates under its brand. Our data focuses on just the Kroger businesses that have reeled in more than 10,000 Apple Store ratings - and, there are similar levels of rising engagement across a group of Kroger brands including Ralphs, Fry’s, Dillons, Fred Meyer, King Soopers and Smith’s
Many of the apps did - or nearly matched - a doubling of Apple Store ratings submitted from 2019 to 2020, a sign of substantial ongoing engagement with consumers. However, ratings aren't exactly great - none of Kroger's subsidiary apps have cracked the 4-out-of-5 rating in the Apple Store.
In order to accurately summarize our data, we needed to exclude Kroger from our first chart - this is the exact same chart as the first one, just with Kroger's data added. And, that should underscore the level of growth it has already created, as well as the problem that it represents for Amazon (which has a comparatively piddling 214,000 ratings in the Apple Store at last tally).
None of this is to say that Kroger completely failed to launch apps until 2018 - but it got much more serious about earning and tracking engagement. And if reviews are to be viewed as a sign of strength, Kroger's flexing on Bezos, big-time. Next, it will have to work to make consumers happier.
Kroger will report earnings March 5 and analysts tracked by Zacks Investment Research are looking for EPS $0.56.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.