The online supermarket startup scene is just taking off in Europe with big retailers currently going for the click & collect business models but an overall boom in the online-grocery space on the horizon. Looking at the current German market situation, the differences in the underlying business models are marginal and a few incremental innovations could help them appeal to the most promising target audiences.
While the startup capital is certainly Berlin, Munich brings the best prerequisites for running a successful online-grocery delivery service as legal regulations limit opening hours for supermarkets to 8pm. No wonder this layout is already attracting the first heavily backed start-ups.
With stocking and inventory management being a huge cost driver and some online supermarkets offering 20000 products, customer focused offerings could be more cost-effective. After all most overall purchases are for dinner and light breakfasts rather than multi-meal dinner parties. Proposing fast-casual convenience products and healthy breakfast cereals rather than fresh exotic fruits could help the financial bottom line.
And by partnering with local partners such as Munchee, a high-quality precooked meal provider, cooking would not even be necessary anymore. And for those clients who don’t know what to make why not partner with Schlemmertüte, a startup which provides recipes and all ingredients in one bag for the whole week. An additional profit driver could also be combo-deals such as a Netflix voucher, popcorn and ice-cream packed together.
Focus on the target group that is not going to make the supermarket closing hours like young professionals working late. Instead of touring all the single households, offer special conditions for workplace delivery, right for the end of overtime hours.
A key problematic is matching the shopper with their items as delivery times are often uncertain. So instead of agreeing on a rough time window, how about using a route calculator algorithm computing the estimated time of arrival and if the customer isn’t home yet, he can just snooze the handover (for a small service fee) and the truck is automatically rerouted.
And sometimes none of the inventory seems exciting enough for a purchase. But instead of an aborted transaction the app could offer a different kind of checkout and direct via an affiliate link to an online pizza delivery app.