With its customer base growing by as much as 40% each month and its average order increasing from $87 to about $120, Toronto grocery delivery service Urbery has announced a series of product enhancements that include a new iOS app, alcohol delivery and an expanded coverage area.
Founder and CEO Mudit Rawat tells Canadian Grocer that the one-year-old company is also considering expanding into Ottawa and Montreal, possibly as early as next year.
Ottawa is appealing because it is a small and densely populated city, while Montreal’s reputation as a “great food city” makes it a logical expansion target. The heavy snowfall in both markets could also make Urbery enticing to residents reluctant to venture out during the winter months, says Rawat.
After launching as a desktop-only product, Urbery introduced its first iPhone app on Oct. 1 (an Android app is currently in development). The app has been an instant hit, already accounting for between 15% t0 20% of Urbery’s orders.
“Once you launch an app and people start downloading it, it becomes so easy for them to get your service in their hands versus going to the desktop,” says Rawat, who predicts that the app could soon account for as much as half of Urbery’s orders.
A new licence from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, meanwhile, means that Urbery can now include beer, wine and spirits with its orders, with a $10 flat fee for delivery.
Urbery customers can choose from approximately 1,000 alcohol products, which are sold at the same price as LCBO and The Beer Store outlets. About 10% of Urbery orders currently include alcohol, says Rawat.
The company has also expanded its coverage area to include midtown Toronto, with plans to grow into North York and the city’s west end in the winter. Rawat says the company’s expansion plans are determined in part by where people are applying to become one of its delivery people, known as a “Ggrocery guru.”
“We need to take care of both demand and supply in our model, so having people interested in actually becoming our grocery guru is very important,” says Rawat, who adds the company receives about 50 applications a week. “Our process starts from that and then we layer in other potential customer data such as income, family size, technology adoption rate, etc.”
The company recently promoted one of its former gurus, Dipesh Dar, to chief operating officer. Dar’s experience includes sales stints with Adidas and leather furniture Natuzzi in his native India.
About 70% of Urbery’s business is from repeat customers who have tried the service and been impressed, with an increasing number of customers now doing a full shop via the service. Order sizes are increasing as more families begin using the service, buying bigger-ticket items like diapers, four litres of milk, etc.
Rawat says that Urbery is driving between $50,000 and $60,000 a month in business to grocery retailers, which include all of the major banners.