Every week, we bring you the FreshMinds Friday picks – ideas to help you make the most of digital technologies and understand how they are helping brands to grow and innovate. This week we are looking at five companies that are using technology to transform the way we shop for groceries from e-commerce giant Amazon to relative newcomers Instacart.
For the past decade, Amazon has been at the forefront of changing the way people shop, so it is no surprise to see that they are leading the disruption in the grocery industry with Amazon Fresh, a new service that allows customers to order fresh produce and groceries online. For an annual subscription of $300, you’ll receive free same day delivery or if you spend over $35 in one go, next morning delivery at no extra cost is guaranteed. Recently Amazon introduced Dash, a gadget that works hand-in-hand with Amazon Fresh to make the process of compiling a shopping list more efficient. With Dash you can scan items at home, in store or even on the move and add them to your basket , reducing the chance of any items being forgotten. Amazon Fresh and Dash are currently only available in certain parts of America; however talk of their introduction to the UK market has intensified in recent months.
UK-based Hello Fresh aims to take away the stress and time involved in making a home cooked meal. By simply logging into their website, you can order meals to last a family of four the whole week, or you can order something for a special occasion. Hello Fresh provide you with quick, simple and easy to understand recipes developed by their in-house chefs. But perhaps the most important feature however, is that they provide you with everything you need to make each recipe, by-passing supermarkets completely as the business has its own independent suppliers. Once you start using the site to order your food, you can join Hello Fresh’s Cooking Academy, which encourages continued used of the site. The more you order, the higher you rank so you can progress from ‘apprentice chef’ to ‘master chef’, accumulating rewards as you go.
Instacart is a US based business that, to quote Huffington Post, ‘does your boring weekend-ruining grocery shopping for you’. The business model is quite simple, using Instacart’s own app, you can compile a list of grocery items you need. This list is then sent to one or more ‘shoppers’, who proceed to pick up your items and deliver them to you within the hour. Instacart is one of a growing number of companies embracing the collaborative economy - in this case by matching people who don’t have the time or the patience to trawl through supermarkets, with people who have spare time and are looking to make extra money. Not only do the ‘shoppers’ deliver goods but they also act as ‘inventory trackers’, constantly updating the availability and prices of products on the Instacart website.
Good Eggs, is another US business disrupting the grocery industry by tapping into the collaborative economy. The platform for this disruption is an online marketplace that cuts out supermarkets and connects local farmers and food producers with a customer base they might otherwise not have access to. You can see exactly who your suppliers are, providing a transparency that customers may not get through their supermarket. Whether you’re looking for fresh dairy produce, fruit or even homemade cakes, Good Eggs connects you with a supplier who can provide those items direct from their farm or kitchen straight to your house. This means that at no point does the food sit in a warehouse. The website also has a function that allows customers to follow their favourite food producers and see when seasonal products become available. This, coupled with the fact that customers can also create recurring orders, goes a long way towards taking the stress out of grocery shopping.
Google Shopping Express
Launched in September 2013, Google Shopping Express, is a venture by Google that offers same day and overnight delivery of groceries (and many other products) in parts of the US. Through partnerships with retailers such as Target, Costco, Whole Foods and even Staples, Google Shopping Express offers customers a one-stop-shop for every type of shopping, so that all your goods can be delivered at the same time, on the same day. By visiting the website or using the app, customers can access different products from different companies in the same place, cutting a shopping trip that would usually last a few hours down to a few minutes of clicking. In an attempt to drive up users and presumably undercut Amazon, Google is currently offering six months unlimited free delivery to new subscribers.
These potential disruptors are either driving innovation across the supply chain or tapping in to the opportunities of the ever-expanding, mobile-enabled, collaborative economy. We’d love to hear your examples of other disruptors and innovation in the grocery market.