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NYC startup promises 15-minute grocery delivery – RetailWire

Oct 09, 2020

Matthew Stern

The race for faster delivery was heating up even before the novel coronavirus pandemic and, with the widespread adoption of e-grocery, the ability to get customers the groceries they order, fast, is even more of a priority. Now, a startup in New York City is promising a delivery timeframe on groceries that purports to blow right past the logistics promises of Walmart, Amazon.com and others — and is environmentally friendly, too.

Brooklyn-based delivery startup Fridge No More promises that groceries will be delivered in 15 minutes within a one-mile radius of its storefront, according to Time Out. The startup, which currently has service only in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, delivers via electric bike. Fridge No More plans to expand its operations into Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood this month, and eventually into Manhattan. Customers can order via an app that currently displays a selection of 800 items, but the startup plans to scale the selection up to 3,000 items after setting up a new warehouse-like space.

While the pandemic has made fast grocery delivery a priority everywhere, New York City has long been a battleground for ultra-fast services, with some of the earliest attempts from major retailers beginning in the middle of the 2010s.

NYC was the market where Amazon debuted its Prime Now one-hour delivery service in 2014 before moving into other markets, according to an article from that era on GeekWire.

Later, Amazon folded its Prime Now delivery service into the offering at Whole Foods and expanded the service from New York and other major urban markets to all its stores.

By the end of 2019, this led competitors to roll out comparable services, some even shrinking the promised delivery time window. Kroger, for instance, began piloting a half-hour delivery service in Cincinnati.

The speedy grocery delivery space has not, however, been a smooth ride for all — and there have been some significant failures in the New York market.

Toward the end of 2019, Walmart discontinued its Jet City Grocery fresh food delivery service in the city. The service, which sought to allow customers to order from multiple respected local artisan vendors, ran into frequent out-of-stock issues and operational concerns and was forced to keep raising prices.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Can a delivery-only grocery startup like Fridge No More compete with traditional grocers and third-party delivery services like Instacart and Shipt given the broad adoption e-grocery? Do you think Fridge No More will be able to make good on its claim of 15-minute delivery consistently?

Braintrust

“This is going to be interesting – can a startup show the pros how to do it? Only time will tell.”

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