Grocery Roundup: On-Demand Delivery Heats Up as Uber Leverages Portfolio to Win eGrocery Shoppers

Grocery Delivery

As on-demand delivery services compete to meet consumers’ instant grocery needs, Uber has just announced a new offering that aims to leverage its breadth of services as a key differentiator. On Wednesday (Nov. 17), the company launched Uber One, a membership program that, for a set monthly or annual fee, offers discounts across its rides and delivery businesses among other perks.

For grocery shopping specifically, this takes the shape of 5% off orders and free delivery for purchases $30 and over, as well as $5 credit for late deliveries. Additionally, consumers choosing between different grocery delivery services who also sometimes order hot food delivery and utilize ride sharing services may be incentivized to opt for Uber, given the benefits in other categories.

“We want our customers to experience firsthand how Uber can make their every day more effortless,” Awaneesh Verma, head of Membership at Uber, said in a statement. “Uber One offers elevated access to all of Uber: rides, delivery, and groceries.”

Research from PYMNTS’ study, What Consumers Expect From Their Grocery Shopping Experiences, created in collaboration with ACI Worldwide, featured a census-balanced survey of more than 2,300 U.S. adults and found 34% of consumers now buy groceries online, with only 18% of consumers preferring eCommerce options to in-store shopping. Additionally, the study found that the most popular form of online grocery shopping is buying online and having the products delivered to one’s house, with 23% of consumers using this option and 8% ranking it as their most preferred.

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Buyk Taps Ghost Kitchen Vet to Grow Delivery Service

Buyk, a 15-minute grocery delivery service operating in New York City started by the founders of Russia’s Samokat express food and essentials delivery service, is bringing in expertise pertaining to another kind of food delivery — quick service restaurant (QSR) meals. The company announced Tuesday (Nov. 16) that it has hired James Walker, former senior vice president for restaurants at Nathan’s Famous, as its new CEO.

“We feel that [Walker’s] expertise and experience in scaling businesses and bringing them to new markets are a valuable asset, and totally align with our goal of making Buyk a household name, first in the US, and then globally,” Slava Bocharov, co-founder of Buyk, said in a statement.

Read Bocharov on today’s eGrocery market: Ultra-Fast Grocery Delivery Companies Expect a Future of Consolidation

Walker led the charge for the QSR chain in opening hundreds of ghost kitchens domestically and internationally across a number of brands including Nathan’s Famous, a Wings of New York virtual brand and a mostly digital revival of seafood chain Arthur Treacher’s Fish and Chips.

See Walker’s interview with PYMNTS: Nathan’s Famous Doubles Down On Ghost Kitchens As Hottest QSR Trend Accelerates

“I’ve been highly impressed by both the Company’s early success, as well as the proven expertise and track record of the founders,” Walker said of the eGrocer. “Add Buyk’s unique technology to the mix and you can see why I felt compelled to become part of the Buyk team.” 

Quickly Growing Canadian eGrocer Launches On-Demand Service

In other on-demand delivery news, Montreal-based online grocer and meal kit provider Goodfood Market, which has an active customer base of 249,000 Canadian consumers and annual net sales of $379 million, announced Wednesday that it is launching a faster delivery service that will bring meal kits and groceries to consumers’ doors within an hour.

“Offering an alternative to traditional grocery that takes less time to arrive at our customers’ doors than it takes to go shop in a store is truly unique in terms of value proposition, and it will drive online grocery penetration and position Goodfood to be the Canadian leader in the field,” CEO Jonathan Ferrari told analysts on a call. “In addition, we are already seeing early signs that on-demand delivery will fuel demand for our meal kits and ready to eat products as our merchandising for one hour or less delivery includes all three product lines we offer.”

While the service may not be “truly unique” — on-demand delivery providers ranging from incumbents such as Instacart and DoorDash to newcomers like Buyk and Gorillas are already active in the space — much of the innovation in on-demand delivery has been focused on traditional groceries rather than meal kits, and Canadian markets are underpenetrated relative to crowded ones such as New York City.

UK’s Asda Expands Loyalty Trial

Asda, a top three grocery chain in the United Kingdom, is just now exploring the potential of digital loyalty programs to boost sales. On Thursday (Nov. 18), marketing technology company Eagle Eye announced that it was working with the grocer to expand its test of its Asda Rewards loyalty program to 16 stores, after the grocer tested the program with its employees.

The program offers financial incentives to purchase certain products and brands. Going forward, the grocer hopes to leverage its data to reward purchases of customers’ favorite items, personalizing the experience to drive spending.

If United Kingdom shoppers are anything like those in the United States, a loyalty program can go a long way towards driving spending. Research from PYMNTS and ACI’s study on grocery shopping behaviors found that 54% of U.S. consumers are members of a grocery loyalty program. Additionally, 61% of these members report spending more at grocery stores that have loyalty programs, 63% report that the availability of loyalty programs impacts their decision about what grocery stores to use, and 48% say that loyalty programs would encourage them to purchase items that they now purchase online at their favorite grocery store instead.