Fast food: the new wave of delivery services that get groceries in minutes | Couriers/delivery industry
Inexpensive grocery store, free delivery, at your doorstep in 10-20 minutes. Fast-track grocery services have sprouted like weeds during the pandemic, with players pulling out all the stops to tempt shoppers.
At least seven key players are vying for dominance in the UK. Most are currently focused on London, with only Weezy, Fancy and Gorillas venturing outside the capital so far. But all the major players, which also include Getir, Dija, Zapp and Jiffy, are planning to expand into new cities this year with Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and beyond in their sights.
Both Jiffy and Getir aim to open more than 90 hubs across the country, Dija is targeting all major cities by the end of the year.
Gorillas – the on-demand grocery delivery service. Photography: Paleworks/Gorillas
The expansion is being boosted by $14bn (£9.8bn) of investment in this globally hot new market since the start of the pandemic, according to financial industry analysts PitchBook. Getir’s latest funding round valued the Turkish company at $2.6 billion, Gorillas launched a major television advertising campaign.
Online supermarket orders and deliveries can now be a part of life for many families, accounting for around 14% of the entire grocery market. But these new ‘quick commerce’ players are turning to the corner shop, aiming to make ordering a pint of milk, a bottle of wine and some crisps via your phone as natural as switching to Spotify. or Netflix.
Regular Getir user Steve Thomas, 41, in Hackney, east London, says he uses the app to buy specialty beers such as Beavertown and Brewdog car, with the current delivery offer free, he can get them cheaper through the app than jumping to a convenience store or through services like Deliveroo or Uber Eats.
“Prices are extremely reasonable,” he says. “It’s great if you’re watching the football or have a few friends partying.”
Gorillas staff pack the orders. Photography: PALEWORKS/Gorillas
Apps can look like Ocado’s Zoom or Sainsbury’s Chop Chop, both of which offer under-hour grocery deliveries, or buying groceries from Waitrose, the Co-op or Aldi through Deliveroo. Their point of difference is faster and, arguably, more reliable service using ‘dark stores’ – small, very local distribution centres.
They don’t stock more than around 4,000 different items, 10-15 times less than a typical supermarket, but can target ranges to suit local shoppers and are much less likely to make substitutions as they know exactly what’s in store. stock. Some, notably Weezy and Gorillas, complete their offer with products from local specialists such as bakers or pizza makers. Delivery costs can also be lower: Weezy charges £2.95, others as low as 99p.
Shoppers range from college students to hassled parents stuck at home with kids, to young professionals who want a quick meal after work, or dinner hosts in a last-minute panic over a forgotten ingredient.
Unlike take-out food delivery companies, almost all grocery stores directly employ their drivers, pay by the hour, and provide them with e-bikes or e-mopeds.
“You can’t deliver consistency and wow customers every time by sending gig riders to stores,” says Zapp’s Steve O’Hear. Couriers delivering from stores cannot be sure if the goods are in stock and will always take longer to deliver, he claims.
Groceries processed and delivered by online supermarket Weezy in London. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters
These start-ups account for only a tiny fraction of spending through takeaway delivery apps such as Deliveroo – less than 0.4%, according to Kantar analysts. However, they grow rapidly. Some estimates suggest they could eventually account for up to half of the UK’s online grocery market, currently valued at nearly £18billion.
Getir, Europe’s most established fast-commerce group, has registered 3.9 million new buyers so far this year on Android phones, according to analysts at App Radar.
Weezy co-founder Alec Dent says growth, initially spurred by stay-at-home orders, continued as lockdowns eased.
“If anything, we are seeing growth resume. People are now used to ordering online for a big weekly store but don’t want the hassle of [waiting in for it if they are not working from home].”
The phenomenon is international. In Moscow, 30% of its online grocery market is already occupied by quick-trade. Jiffy co-founder Vladimir Kholyaznikov, who previously worked at Russian food delivery service Foodza, believes it will be an “important part of the market”. He adds: “No one can win this alone. There will be several successful businesses.
Eleanor Cooke, a solicitor in Battersea, south London, who now uses Weezy three or four times a week, says the app has become a habit after signing a discount deal. “It was a game changer. I started using it for snacks, chips and a bottle of wine. I’ve been using it for six months and it has only grown and grown.
However, a supermarket boss has expressed skepticism that fast trade could corner up to half of the online market. “People who want to raise money for their brilliant idea need predictions like this,” he said.
“It feels like an urban offering, not the suburban family.”
Urban or suburban, many more families will have the chance to judge whether it’s for them this year.
Getir, British express courier service. Photo: Getir
Runners and riders
Launched in March 2021 by former Deliveroo executives, Dija raised $20 million in seed funding in December. It currently operates in London, Paris and Madrid, opens in Cambridge on Monday after buying local operator Genie, and plans to enter all major UK cities by the end of this year, including Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Edinburgh.
Stocks 4,000 different products delivered in 10 minutes for a 99p fee.
Launched in January 2020, Fancy was acquired by US operator GoPuff in May 2021. GoPuff is now valued at $8.9 billion after raising $3.9 billion in October last year. Currently making deliveries to Newcastle, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol and Birmingham, with openings planned in London, Sheffield and Nottingham, among others, in the coming months.
Choice of over 1,000 products which can be delivered within 30 minutes for a £2 charge.
Founded in Turkey in 2015, where it already serves 25 cities, Getir launched in the UK in February this year. It already has 25 dark stores in the capital, and will open in Birmingham and Manchester in the coming months. Within a year, he hopes to have reached 15-20 UK cities, including Bristol, Liverpool and Glasgow. The company raised $300 million in March in a deal valuing at $2.6 billion, just two months after raising $128 million.
A choice of 1,500 articles in 15 minutes. Delivery is currently free, costs £1.99 in the future.
Founded last spring in Berlin by Kağan Sümer and Jörg Kattner, Gorillas launched in the UK in March this year. It serves London and Manchester and already advertises staff in Bristol, Cambridge, Nottingham and Southampton. The company raised $290 million in March, valuing it at over $1 billion.
With over 2000 products, Gorillas delivers in 10 minutes for £1.80.
Jiffy co-founder Vladimir Kholyaznikov ran a similar start-up in Moscow before launching Jiffy in London in April 2021. The company plans up to 100 dark stores in London and other cities this year. It raised £2.6m in seed funding in March.
Contains over 1,200 items, 10-15 minute delivery and free for the first month then £1.99
Already serving London, Manchester and Brighton, with plans to be in other major cities including Birmingham and Edinburgh by the end of the year, Weezy launched in July 2020. Co-founder Alec Dent previously worked on ride-sharing app BlaBlaCar, and the company made $20 million as of January 2021.
Delivers up to 2,000 products in 15 minutes for £2.95 fee.
Launched in London last summer by a team of former managers from Amazon and Nigerian online grocer Jumia, Zapp is currently recruiting in Manchester. It raised new funds in March, bringing the total to $100 million since launch.