Two young Toronto entrepreneurs have launched a grocery delivery app with a rather ambitious objective.
“Our goal is to be the biggest grocery store in Canada,” said P.J. Grant who started Wanda.delivery with his partner Ahmed Dauda. The important caveat is that their grocery business will be entirely online.
The business model is straightforward but also well aligned with current consumer trends and shopping behaviours—particularly for younger millennials and Gen Z, who appear willing to shop online and with a greater proclivity toward delivery of everything.
“Wherever there is a middle man there are extra costs added to the consumer,” said Grant. “So our approach is to get rid of that middleman.”
In other words, as more people buy their groceries online, why should they be paying for the overhead costs of a bricks-and-mortar store that other people shop at.
Wanda offers approximately 600 SKUs, “based on essentials” with plans to grow that catalogue in response to user feedback. The cost of delivery is worked into the price of the product.
At the moment, Wanda’s prices seem better in some cases, but not in others. A few random examples: Dempster’s 12 grain bread was $3.45 with Wanda and $4.29 at Loblaw.ca.
Michelina’s 255-gram lasagna with meat sauce is $2.49 at Wanda, but on sale with Loblaw at the moment for just 99 cents (though it’s regular $1.99), Pillsbury 400-gram pizza pops are $3.45 at Wanda and $3.69 at Loblaw.
Aside from being a “virtual supermarket,” Wanda is offering another unique service that has emerged in the e-grocery space only very recently—not just delivery, but delivery into the kitchen while nobody is home.
Wanda’s three delivery people—full-time employees who have gone through credit, security, police and background checks—will deliver your groceries to your home and put them into your fridge, freezer or pantry. Delivery people wear bodycams so customers can see video footage from the time the delivery person was in their home if they want it.
“We want to be able to offer users the full experience to come home and have their fridge and their pantry fully stocked for them,” said Grant.
The target is young professional living downtown, working long hours and don’t have time to grocery shop, said Grant.
For now Wanda is working on developing pilots and tests with condos in downtown Toronto. Grant and Dauda don’t have any grocery experience—both are recent university grads—but they believe their online grocery store should be have the big chains worried.
“[That’s] not just tech company start-up bravado. We see the future of grocery shopping and it is our bet that grocery shopping doesn’t necessitate having a physical location and the cost savings with running an asset-light model without the physical overhead gives us a huge advantage.”