It seems like everyone is doing it. We're talking about DELIVERY. This might be the toughest competitive threat you've ever experienced.
Almost daily, there are news reports about delivery service being added or enhanced by supermarkets, mass merchandisers, restaurants and more. Check around your hometown and you will notice an increasing number of competitors offering delivery of immediate consumption (IC) food, snacks and beverages. Whether it's independent local stores or multi-location chain operations, they are now making a sustained effort to capture the transactions and sales you are making.
Now it is convenience stores adding delivery. We were in Dallas recently, and saw a news segment on WFAA (Channel 8) on June 27. It was about the 7-ElevenNOW app. It is tied to their delivery service. 7-Eleven is offering it in limited areas of Dallas and close-in suburbs.
During the introductory period, after you register, delivery is free for the first seven orders. There are thousands of 7-Eleven products on the delivery menu, including beer. The video report runs just over three minutes. You'll see how easy it is to sign up, select and order.
We did a little homework and found a 7-Eleven press release dated December 13, 2017. It announced the initial test of the 7-ElevenNOW app and delivery. That was in two Dallas areas with 10 stores downtown and seven in the uptown neighborhood.
A 7-Eleven executive was quoted, "We continuously ask our consumers how we can make their lives better, and 7 ElevenNOW is a proprietary solution to their on-demand needs. The app will enable our customers to get the products they want, when and where they want them, quickly and conveniently. This is redefining convenience."
Don't relax if think that you're safe because 7-Eleven is not offering the app and delivery in your local area. A quick online search looking for recent news about delivery of IC (and other grocery) products showed that the 'gold rush' is on. It's not just convenience stores. We found a number of tests and newsworthy items. Among them were: ● Walmart with DoorDash ● Kroger with Nuro, using unmanned self-driving delivery vehicles ● Amazon with Whole Foods ● Wawa with Grubhub ● Target acquired Shipt Inc. (a sameday delivery service) ● Wendy's with DoorDash ● McDonald's with Uber Eats – McDelivery
The list above is by no means complete. Expect that delivery will rise up the priority list for more restaurants chains and convenience stores. Odds are that at-work locations will be high up the target list for these initiatives.
Look for local delivery alternatives for IC foods, snacks and beverages. Look at the menu categories and delivery costs. Are they offering products you stock or items which are not on your menu? How about pricing? What do you think about the price/value comparison?
Try a few of these services. If you decide to place an order, think whether you want to do it at your office or from home.
By the way, how are you doing on developing an app for your shoppers to use when they are shopping at your locations? Of course you're working on an app, right? It does not matter whether you provide vending, micromarkets, OCS, onsite foodservice or catering, you must have an app. It's a necessity for you to be an app on the smartphones of the people who walk in to your stores.
You must understand what the competition is doing if you want to sell more stuff. Get that app finished and put it into work for you selling more stuff.
» Paul Schlossberg is president of D/FW Consulting, working with clients to merchandise and market products in impulse-intense selling environments, such as vending, onsite foodservice and convenience stores. Based in the Austin, TX, area, he can be reached at Paul@DFWConsulting.net or (972) 877-2972 or www.DFWConsulting.net.