Kroger is in a position to beat out other grocery chains in an area that is key to the future of the industry: online sales.

The chain was deemed the best-positioned retail company for online grocery gains in the US by Morgan Stanley in a recent e-commerce survey, beating out companies like Walmart, Target, and Whole Foods.

Kroger got a head start on the competition thanks to key 2014 mergers with Harris Teeter and

Merging with Harris Teeter gave Kroger access to the grocery company’s “Express Lane” technology that allows customers to order online and pick up their purchases at locations. Soon after the acquisition, Kroger began testing its own click-and-collect service, called Click List, based on the Express Lane model. Today, the service is available at 184 locations.

Merging with healthy living and nutrition e-commerce company Vitacost offered Kroger a different online shopping approach. Vitacost insights and technology accelerated Kroger’s e-commerce growth by two to three years, thanks to the company's experience with home delivery. Using tech from Vitacost, Kroger is testing delivery of more than 36,000 health-related and organic products in Denver under the ‘Live Naturally’ platform.

Also important to Kroger’s success is the company’s ability to gather and analyze data from customers. The company’s customer analytics and insight division, called 84.51, is instrumental to the future of Kroger’s e-commerce business.

“With its 84.51 'customer science' division, Kroger has industry-leading data analysis capabilities,” reads the Morgan Stanley report. “We believe the use of 84.51 knowledge can help Kroger continually refine its e-commerce offerings, likely leading to online grocery share gains.”