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Inabuggy launches Inabuggy-Mart, a new ‘hyperlocal’ service

Screen Shot 2020-09-14 at 1.18.20 PMOnline grocery delivery service Inabuggy is continuing its aggressive product rollout with the addition of a “hyperlocal” offering called Inabuggy-Mart. It joins existing Inabuggy services spanning traditional and specialty grocery stores, foodservice providers and alcohol retailers.

Inabuggy-Mart offers online ordering for approximately 1,000 SKUs ranging from convenience items such as bread, milk, eggs, snack foods and confectionery, to flowers and face masks. It will support family-owned or independent stores including butcher and flower shops, many of which don’t have the necessary resources to make deliveries.

The service will be available seven days a week in the Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary and Edmonton. Inabuggy is promising delivery within as little as 30 minutes, which it claims is a first for a Canadian grocery delivery service.

“What we’ve noticed is that customers are not just looking for a wider assortment of products, they’re also looking for a quick turnaround time,” says Inabuggy founder and CEO Julian Gleizer. The company will charge a $9.99 delivery fee, with no minimum order, compared to $19.98 for Inabuggy.

Gleizer says the nature of the participating stores, all of which provide easy in-and-out access for Inabuggy’s shoppers, allows it to offer 30-minute delivery in the more densely populated areas. The company is still enlisting local stores for the service, with Gleizer saying it has recruited a “significant number” of operators across the country.

The launch of Inabuggy-Mart comes as online grocery has exploded because of the pandemic. Gleizer admits Inabuggy was caught off-guard by the initial surge in customer demand, but has adapted as the crisis has continued. Its technology has advanced five years in the past five months, he says.

Gleizer says Inabuggy was turning the corner on profit just as the pandemic hit, but increased consumer demand has further driven revenue. It has also continued to add shoppers to meet the increased demand, now employing more than 1,000 shoppers across the country.

The service’s average order value, meanwhile, rose from about $218 pre-pandemic to around $243, while the number of times the average customer is using the service has rise from to 11 times per month.

Inabuggy currently offers delivery of more than 70,000 SKUs from more than 50 retail partners in over 200 regions. It has also formalized relationships with CPG companies including Conagra Brands, Fruits from Chile, Kraft Heinz Canada, The Oppenheimer Group and SC Johnson, among others.

Originally published at Canadian Grocer. 


15 years later, Walmart to launch its answer to Amazon Prime

Walmart is launching a new membership service that it hopes can compete with Amazon Prime.

Called Walmart+, it will cost $98 a year, or $12.95 a month, and give members same-day delivery on 160,000 items, a fuel discount at certain gas stations and a chance to check out at Walmart stores without having to wait at a register.

Walmart has a long way to go to catch up with Amazon Prime. Launched in 2005, Prime has more than 150 million members worldwide who pay $119 a year, or $12.99 a month, for faster shipping and other perks, such as discounts at Amazon’s Whole Foods supermarkets and access to its video streaming site.

Walmart’s online sales are growing rapidly, especially during the pandemic, when more people have turned to the company to order groceries online and pick them up at a store. But the world’s biggest retailer is still a distant second online to Amazon. Walmart is expected to take 6% of all online sales in the U.S. this year, compared to Amazon’s 38%, according to market research firm eMarketer.

Last week, Walmart emerged as a possible suitor for the U.S. business of TikTok, the fast-growing video app with more than 100 million users. Analysts have said the bid with tech company Microsoft could be a way for Walmart to grow its online shopping business and connect with millions of young shoppers.

Janey Whiteside, Walmart’s chief customer officer, said it wasn’t launching Walmart+ to compete with any other shopping membership.

“We’re launching it to meet the needs of our customers,” she said. “And it really was designed to make their busy lives easier.”

Walmart+ members will still have to spend at least $35 online to qualify for free same-day delivery. Items are delivered from stores, which typically costs as much as $9.95 for non-members. The 160,000 items that qualify include groceries, toys, electronics and household items, such as toilet paper and soap.

Members will get a discount of up to 5 cents a gallon at Murphy gas stations or at the 2,000 Walmart locations that have gas pumps. The company said it’s working to add more gas-station chains to its list.

At its stores, members can unlock an app to scan items as they shop and pay without having to stop at a cashier.

The Bentonville, Arkansas-based company said Walmart+ will launch Sept. 15.


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Shopify and Walmart team up to take on Amazon

UnknownShopify Inc. is upping the ante in its battle against Amazon.com Inc. by aligning itself Walmart Inc. in its fight with the Seattle online retailer.

The Ottawa-based e-commerce giant, whose software powers online stores for more than one million companies, on Monday announced the partnership, which will allow U.S. merchants to sell their products on Walmart’s website.

By the end of the year, Shopify expects 1,200 of its merchants to be selling products through Walmart’s marketplace, which is visited by more than 120 million Americans every month.

Amazon had more than 2.01 billion visits in February alone and is the most visited e-commerce property in the United States, according to Statista. Walmart holds the number two spot.

The partnership is their latest swing at Amazon, a behemoth that has revolutionized the world of e-commerce with its online marketplace, massive warehouses and speedy delivery services.

Amazon has been eating into Walmart’s low-cost model by enticing customers with equally affordable prices and the added convenience of quick delivery.

Asked whether the Walmart deal was signed with Amazon in mind, Shopify’s vice-president of product didn’t single out any one company. “Anything that reduces the barrier to entrepreneurship is good for merchants, good for consumers, and good for Shopify,” said Satish Kanwar.

His company, however, tweeted a graphic on Monday based on an image used with a recent story in the Guardian newspaper about the Shopify-Amazon rivalry. Shopify animated the graphic to zoom in on a frowning character apparently made of Amazon boxes that was being towered over a shopping bag bearing Shopify’s logo.

Walmart has been trying to keep up with Amazon, which has undercut retailers with its algorithms and in-house brands and hastened the speed of online shopping, sending competitors scrambling to keep up.

“If you have a common enemy then the idea of forming an alliance to try to counteract your common enemy makes a lot of sense,” said David Soberman, a University of Toronto marketing professor.

“Shopify doesn’t benefit from the growth of Amazon. The stronger that Amazon is, the less likely it is that an independent merchant wants to set up an online store with Shopify.”

The Walmart-Shopify partnership could work well, Soberman said, because it matches Walmart – still the world’s biggest retailer – with one of Shopify’s strengths: inventory management.

Lisa Hutcheson, managing partner at consulting firm J.C. Williams Group, said the two are also a good fit for each other because Walmart is keen on digital growth – an area where Shopify has long focused.

Walmart.com’s sales surged 74% in the first quarter of its fiscal year as the brand experienced increases in demand for curbside sales and online orders during the pandemic’s early days, when details of the Shopify partnership were being worked out.

But even together, Walmart and Shopify are unlikely to beat Amazon, Hutcheson said.

“Amazon is always one step ahead of everyone in terms of where they are going to pivot next,” said Hutcheson.

“I think (Shopify) will be able to give it a run, but not catch up.”

Shopify, which temporarily topped RBC as Canada’s most valuable publicly traded company earlier this year and counts among its customers Kylie Cosmetics, Budweiser and Nestle, has been in more direct contention with Amazon since last year, when the company announced plans for a network of fulfilment centres meant to help merchants lower shipping costs and ensure timely deliveries.

The centres will focus first on the U.S., one of Amazon’s strongest markets, with the door open to expansion in other regions.

The Walmart partnership comes a month after Shopify teamed up with Facebook Inc. to allow merchants to create a customized online storefront for Facebook and Instagram.

 


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7-Eleven teams up with Skip the Dishes for delivery

Slurpee® and more now delivered from 7-ElevenJust in time for summer Slurpee cravings, 7-Eleven Canada is expanding its at-home delivery options by partnering with Skip the Dishes.

The move comes just weeks after Foodora pulled out of Canada, leaving retailers and restaurants with fewer third-party deliver options.

 

The food delivery app closed its Canadian operations on May 11, just months after a key labour board decision laid the groundwork for the company’s workers to push for unionization. Foodora has operated in 10 Canadian cities over the last five years and boasted 3,000 clients on the platform.

The move left many c-store operators, from independents to Couche-Tard and 7-Eleven, in a quandary at a time when demand for delivery is through the roof.

As consumers embrace at-home delivery, c-stores are upping their game.

In Canada, 7-Eleven customers will be able to order a variety of hot foods, from pizza to wedges and wings, as well as cool treats. The company also partners with UberEats for its #HereInTheNeighbourhood delivery program.

In the U.S., 7-Eleven recently announced that in addition to its proprietary 7NOW delivery app, it was partnering with national delivery platforms Postmates, DoorDash and Favor to delivery from 7-Eleven stores available to as many customers as possible. The company says the partnerships enables it to expand on-demand ordering in more than 90% of participating U.S.


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New apps emerge amid COVID-19 to tackle gripes with popular delivery services

Screen Shot 2020-05-05 at 1.00.59 PMWhen the weekend rolls around, Torontonians won’t have to miss the White Lily Diner’s thick-cut bacon, organic corn grits and toast smeared in rhubarb hibiscus jam just because the country has plunged into a pandemic.

The east-end diner is selling its brunch staples and offering to drop them at customers’ doors, but the process won’t involve any of the familiar delivery apps whose couriers have become a fixture on busy streets in recent years.

Instead of relying on Uber Eats, SkipTheDishes or DoorDash, White Lily is using a new entrant to the market: Tock To Go.

“The biggest draw off the bat was probably just the fact that they’re so much less expensive,” said White Lily co-owner Ashley Lloyd, who laid off her entire staff when she closed the restaurant to dine-in meals amid COVID-19.

“Restaurant margins are slim…I can understand people turning to (their delivery competitors), but honestly I don’t know how they do it.”

Tock To Go is part of a new wave of food delivery companies hitting the Canadian market, hoping to attract vendors with features like lower commissions and fill the hole Foodora will leave behind when it shutters its Canadian operations in mid-May.

The services – Ottawa’s Love Local Delivery, Vancouver’s From To, Toronto’s volunteer-run iRover and new delivery features on Montreal’s Eva – have been created to help out in a tough moment, when restaurants are barely scraping by – even as demand for food delivery surges.

These services want to do things differently from the household names, so they have eliminated commission fees or offered rates well below the 10- to 30-per cent charged by Uber Eats, SkipTheDishes, DoorDash and others.

Tock To Go, a Chicago-based service from restaurateur Nick Kokonas that evolved from his Tock reservation system, only takes a 3% commission from restaurants in Vancouver and Toronto.

Tock first appeared in the cities in 2018, but didn’t launch Tock to Go until the pandemic started. Tock to Go doesn’t have couriers to deliver meals. Instead, it asks customers to pre-order food, helping restaurants arrange their own delivery.

“Ordering apps take up to 20 to 30 (per cent), which simply is not sustainable for restaurants,” Tock’s director of marketing Kyle Welter said in an email.

“Tock allows each restaurant to specify the number of orders for any set time range, so the kitchen doesn’t get overwhelmed and they can responsibly manage the flow of customers.”

Over in B.C., Brandon Grossutti from Gastown restaurant Pidgin will launch From To, a delivery service with a handful of Vancouver eateries, in May.

In the weeks before restaurants in Canada closed to stop the spread of COVID-19, Grossutti realized Pidgin would need a takeout option, so he signed up with Uber Eats and Burnaby-based Fantuan Delivery.

“Then the reality of it hit. We did fairly well gross wise, but you see the checks coming in and…the first week was a lot of money out the door in commissions,” said Grossutti, who had to lay off workers

“It’s a weirdly parasitic relationship where you have a parasite basically eating its hosts until it dies and it’s not a sustainable relationship.”

Grossutti decided to put his software industry background to work. He made From To, which gives restaurants the ability to decide if they want to pay for, split with or pass on customers’ delivery costs.

From To currently takes no commission.

“We had talked at certain points about taking like 5%, which would be much less than what’s out there, but we realized that during this time we need to make this sustainable because people are already losing money,” Grossutti said.

The lower commissions don’t seem to have bothered rivals.

“We welcome new competitors to the market, as it raises awareness of the industry and promotes even more traffic to restaurants to stimulate growth,” Winnipeg-bred SkipTheDishes said in an email to The Canadian Press.

“It is natural for competitors to see value in this market and we’re confident in Skip’s position as Canada’s homegrown food delivery company.”

SkipTheDishes is offering a 10.5% commission deal to restaurants wanting to do their own deliveries but still use the platform and is expediting payments to all businesses using its services.

Meanwhile, San Francisco-based Uber Eats is eliminating its fees on pickup orders and reducing its usual 30% charges to 15% for restaurants who choose to use their own delivery people.

DoorDash, also headquartered in San Francisco, is waiving April commission fees for new, independent clients. Existing independent clients can have those fees waived on pickup orders, and 100,000 clients were added to DashPass – its subscription program which offers $0 delivery for consumers – for free.

Harriet Clunie, the executive chef at European-style bistro Das Lokal, said that is not enough because the moves put the onus on restaurateurs to offset costs or hire their own delivery staff to take advantage of benefits.

She banded together with other members of the Ottawa restaurant community to found Love Local Delivery, a service that launched in March and will courier food within 5 kilometres of restaurants for a flat $5 fee, or more for longer distances.

There are no commission fees right now and the service focuses solely on independently-owned restaurants.

While it might have to charge commission when it launches an app in the near future, Clunie said the service is committed to keeping that potential fee low.

“It’s all people that are in the same boat and we’re trying to help everybody that’s struggling, restaurants or small businesses or drivers that are unemployed and just trying to make some money to feed the family,” she said.

“It’s an approach that’s really trying to lift everybody up.”

 

 


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7-Eleven partners with delivery platforms to expand reach across the U.S.

7_eleven_log_cmyk_1404953661_5482In addition to its proprietary 7NOW delivery app, 7‑Eleven, in the has joined with national delivery platforms Postmates and DoorDash, in addition to Google, to make delivery available to as many customers in the United States as possible. Texas customers also can use Favor Delivery.

As stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders are extended, many people are unable to run to the store for basic necessities or even a treat.

“7‑Eleven wants to better serve those needs by expanding on-demand delivery providers, giving customers convenient access to hundreds of products. With this expansion, 7‑Eleven and delivery companies offer on-demand ordering in more than 90% of participating U.S. 7‑Eleven stores. For added peace of mind, customers can request contactless delivery for their orders, and they will be left at the door.

“How convenience is defined is completely different today than it was just a month ago,” 7-Elevent COO Chris Tanco said in a release. “Our customers are now looking for more convenient shopping solutions at home. Every day, 7‑Eleven is working hard to come up with new ways to ensure that people can still get the products they need and want in the most convenient way for them.”

“7‑Eleven customers crave convenience and that’s what we’re here for, especially now when more customers are looking to get what they need without leaving their house,” said Raghu Mahadevan, 7‑Eleven VP of digital and head of delivery. “Expanding the marketplace beyond our stores has been a strategic goal, and these extraordinary times have accelerated our efforts to get the products our customers want and need to them as safely as possible.”

In Canada, 7-Eleven offers delivery via as part of its #HomeInTheNeighbourhood program. It uses third-party delivery services, including Uber Eats and Foodora (although Foodora announced that it is pulling out of Canada this month).


Fire & Flower Deliver - (c) 2020 Fire & Flower Holdings Corp. (CNW Group/Fire & Flower Holdings Corp.)

Fire & Flower powers up for home delivery in the GTA

Fire & Flower Deliver - (c) 2020 Fire & Flower Holdings Corp. (CNW Group/Fire & Flower Holdings Corp.)

Fire & Flower Holdings is now offering home delivery in the greater Toronto area.

Fire & Flower, an independent adult-use cannabis retailer that owns (directly or indirectly) cannabis retail store licences in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario and the Yukon.

Through its strategic investment with Alimentation Couche-Tard, the Canadian company has set its sights on the global expansion as new cannabis markets emerge.

In addition to the curbside pickup and home delivery offered in Ottawa and Kingston, the technology powering home delivery in Toronto is enabled through the Hifyre Digital Retail and Analytics Platform. Customers can order via www.fireandflower.com for free next day home delivery on orders over $50.00.

“Fire & Flower welcomes this opportunity to demonstrate how private cannabis retail can showcase fully-compliant best-in-class services such as e-commerce, home delivery and curbside pickup to our customers. It is essential that private retail is able to compete on a level playing field with government-run e-commerce and home delivery cannabis services,” CEO Trevor Fencott said in a release. “Through the Hifyre Digital Retail and Analytics platform, we are well positioned should other methods of servicing customers open across Canadian provinces.”

Under the current shutdown of non-essential businesses, cannabis retail stores are permitted to operate through online, curbside pickup and home delivery services for the duration of the emergency order on business closures in relation to COVID-19.


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Foodora to pull out of Canada, leaving c-stores with fewer delivery options

Screen Shot 2020-04-28 at 12.55.09 PMFood delivery app Foodora is closing its Canadian operations in May, just months after a key labour board decision laid the groundwork for the company’s workers to push for unionization.

The move leaves many c-store operators, from independents to Couche-Tard and 7-Eleven, in a quandary at a time when demand for delivery is through the roof.

The subsidiary of Berlin-based Delivery Hero SE said Monday that it has not been able to reach a level of profitability in Canada that’s sustainable enough to continue operations, so it filed a notice of intention and will exit the country on May 11.

“We’re faced with strong competition in the Canadian market, and operate a business that requires a high volume of transactions to turn a profit,” said David Albert, Foodora Canada’s managing director, in a release.

“We’ve been unable to get to a position which would allow us to continue to operate without having to continually absorb losses.”

Foodora has operated in 10 Canadian cities over the last five years and has racked up 3,000 restaurants on the platform, even in a “highly-saturated market” with stiff competition from Uber Eats, SkipTheDishes and DoorDash.

The announcement was a blow for couriers who have been busy dealing with surges in orders amid COVID-19 and grappling with new policies around no-contract delivery.

“It’s devastating,” said Jennifer Scott, who has worked as a Foodora bike courier for two-and-a-half years in Toronto.

“We are in the midst of a global pandemic and this job is how we make a living wage. It’s how we survive, and it’s just gone, which is very scary for many of us.”

She expects she will be able to make up her Foodora losses with work from Uber Eats and DoorDash, which she already does deliveries for, but isn’t sure others will be so lucky.

Before the closure, couriers were already fretting because they don’t qualify for some of the federal government’s recently-announced relief measures, she said.

“I’ve been a courier a long time and I’ve been able to figure out how to make it work for me no matter what’s going on…but I’m not so certain about many of my co-workers who are only working for Foodora, Scott said.

“I don’t know what they will do.”

The shutdown news was extra tough for couriers like Scott because they had been part of Foodsters United, which had long been fighting for rights and protections for Foodora couriers and other gig economy workers.

They alleged that the company was using the independent contractor model to avoid giving workers health and safety supports.

Foodsters wanted fair compensation for the work completed by couriers because it said the pay-per-order model meant that during slow periods workers receive wages lower than minimum wage, while still covering costs like gas, phones and vehicle or bike repairs.

Foodora long boasted about its app offering flexibility so people just trying to earn some extra cash or between jobs could easily make money, but Foodora workers said that flexibility bred instability and left them with little protection.

Foodsters garnered attention in February following an Ontario Labour Relations Board ruling that decided Foodora couriers are dependent contractors of the food-delivery company because they more closely resemble employees than independent contractors.

The ruling was considered a massive hurdle to clear that could have helped the couriers unionize and give growing numbers of gig economy workers the inspiration to follow suit.

Jan Simpson, the national president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, called the two-weeks’ notice that has been provided to Foodora workers “grossly unfair and unreasonable” and said the union was reviewing its legal options.

“Foodora and Delivery Hero must be held accountable to the workers,” said Simpson, in an email to The Canadian Press. “Couriers have made millions for this company and deserve to be treated with dignity and fairness. In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are considering numbers over human lives.”

Despite the closure news, Foodsters’ efforts still have merit, said Scott.

“There’s no way that this could be fruitless,” she said. “The win that we celebrated at the labour board is precedent setting and has the ability to pave the way for other workers in other gig economy type jobs to begin the unionization process.”

Meanwhile, Foodora said it is working on devising a proposal to provide additional help to employees and other creditors.

Albert said, “I thank them for the continued support over the last five years. Supporting them during this transition phase is our main priority.”

In Canada, Foodora partnered with Couche-Tard on a pilot project to deliver select products to customers in Montreal. 7-Eleven also offers delivery through the Foodora app, as well as Uber Eats.

  • with files from Michelle Warren 

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Truckers told to ‘hold it’ as rest stops close restrooms

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Canada’s truckers already have a challenging job and are an important front line in the current public health battle. Now, according to information from Teamsters Canada, freight carriers are being denied access to washrooms and showers at rest stops.

This concern was taken up by Ontario MPP, Labour Minister Monte McNaughton, who tweeted Sunday photos of signs reading, ‘No Driver Washrooms at this Location’ and ‘No drivers beyond this point’ and ‘No washroom access.’

We have thousands of truck drivers, delivering medical supplies or groceries, things that people in the province need. And, we have some businesses out there that are hanging signs up saying essentially drop off your load, but you cant use the restroom,” said McNaughton.

Ken Johnston, Purolator’s head of human resources, told media that for truckers much has changed over the last few weeks. Where once gas stations were among the “last reliable places” for a rest stop, operations are now closing the door on driver breaks.

“Our couriers deliver critical supplies to hospitals, long-term care facilities and of course millions of Canadians who are now self-isolating or social distancing in their homes who need supplies. So, in many ways we’re as much of a front-line worker in this effort as anyone,” he said.

 Toronto Mayor John Tory joined the discussion. “Some businesses who previously accommodated employees for mid-route bathroom breaks are either closed or they are open but no longer allowing those operators in,” he said at a Monday news conference. “Those operators – those bus drivers and streetcar operators and others – are serving us at a time when we need them to serve us, and we need to help them as they carry out their duties for us.”

For weeks, truckers across Canada and the U.S. have complained about a lack of access to rest areas.  Many sites, such as c-store and gas stations, have limited access to truck drivers because of fears of contracting the virus. In response, the Ontario government has ordered all truck stops to remain open and deliver basic services to drivers who need bathroom breaks.


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City of Toronto allows for 24-hour delivery to restock store shelves

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With an eye on ensuring retailers, such as c-stores, have the products their customers want and need, all retail businesses are exempt from the City of Toronto Noise Bylaw to facilitate after-hour deliveries.

Effective immediately and until further notice, the move is part of the City of Toronto’s response to COVID-19 and is meant to support of businesses and the community: The City’s Noise Bylaw includes the ability to provide an exemption in response to extraordinary circumstances affecting the immediate health, safety or welfare of the community.

“We are taking this action to help Toronto businesses get deliveries and continue to stock their shelves with essential goods for our residents,” said Mayor John Tory.  “By exempting retail businesses from the City’s noise bylaw right now, we will ensure that retailers can receive deliveries 24 hours of a day, seven days a week.”

City staff – in consultation with Mayor John Tory’s office – moved quickly to make this immediate change after it was raised by the Retail Council of Canada as a way to allow additional deliveries for retailers the wake of panic-buying and stockpiling.

“To assist in getting goods to market in a more expeditious manner, we applaud the City of Toronto for temporarily lifting time-of-day restrictions on roadways and deliveries for our retailers,” said Diane J. Brisebois, president & CEO of the Retail Council of Canada. “As all levels of government work to protect the health of every citizen, we pledge to continue to play a strong supporting role in ensuring access to goods, when and where they are needed.”

The message from governments and retailers is there is no need for people to panic-buy and stockpile, as any bulk purchasing beyond a two-week supply jeopardizes the ability of vulnerable people to access essential food and health supplies.