Shipt Brings On-Demand Grocery Delivery to Columbus

Going to the grocery is something people normally feel really strongly about – falling firmly on one side the love-hate spectrum. But no matter your feelings about the task, it’s most certainly something that you’ve felt like you just didn’t have time to do.

Shpit to the rescue.

The Birmingham, AL based app recently chose Columbus as the jumping off point for its Midwest expansion, bringing with it an army of Shipt shoppers that will do the grocery shopping for you, delivering the goods right to your front door (or office, or wherever).

From its origins as a retail delivery app, Shipt pivoted to grocery only after customer requests and CEO Bill Smith’s trip to the grocery store with his wife and two kids. Shoppers first started delivering groceries in Birmingham seven short months ago and have rapidly expanded to 23 cities spanning Phoenix to Orlando to Columbus.

Shipt ultimately decided on Columbus for two reason. One was customer requests, and the other was finding a grocery store they could align themselves with. They found it in Cincinnati-based Kroger. The business doesn’t have a formal relationship with the store, but it’s the only place Shipt shoppers shop.

Shipt also did something they hadn’t before when staking claim in Columbus. They hired a local agency to help grow the market, calling on ContentVia.

“As we are expanding it’s great to have that local knowledge,” says Anne Adams who works in marketing for the app. “This is not a market that we have all the inside scoop on, so it’s great if we can come up here as much as we can, but to also have some help locally.”shipt280

With its focus on startups, ContentVia Founder Ryan McManus jumped at the opportunity to work with Shipt.

“These types of service apps we see in cities like San Francisco and we don’t always get them in Columbus,” McManus says. “And when they do come to Columbus, they typically cover a small segment of our city, so I’m really excited that Shipt is here because one, it’s a great service that saves people a lot of time, and it covers the far suburbs.”

Shipt can do the shopping for residents from Grove City to New Albany. Their coverage area includes the area inside the 270 loop and the surrounding cities.

Available on iOS and Android, the app works on a membership-based system, coming in at $99 a year or $14 per month.

“As long as you order over $35 or more there’s no delivery fee,” Digital Marketing Manager Missy Polhemus adds. Under $35 and it’s a $7 delivery fee.

The whole process does warrant a slight upcharge on groceries.

“They can expect to pay $5 more on average on a $35 order,” Polhemus says.

An order can be anything but alcohol, tobacco or prescriptions. That means everything from cleaning supplies to produce to ice cream. The app is organized by section, not exactly mirroring but mimicking the layout of a grocery store. Users select each item and fill up their digital cart.

From there, customer pick their delivery window. The app pulls up all the available time slots ticked off in hour increments based on the store hours for the current day and the next day. Users can have their goods in hand in as little as an hour, or pick the time that best fits their schedule.

Customers are notified once a shopper has picked up their order, including a photo so the customer knows who to expect and a general timeline for what’s happening. Customers can also choose if they would like their Shipt shopper to use in-app messaging to text them should a product be unavailable. They can also give a shopper free reign to use their best judgement should the need arise.

Customers should feel confident in that best judgement as Shipt thoroughly vets their shoppers. An in-depth interview, background check, once-over on the driving record, and even a little education on picking out the best produce happen before a shopper gets their bright green Shipt shirt that acts as another marketing tool for the service in-store.

Polhemus says Shipt shoppers fall all across the board – all ages and all hours.

“The wonderful part about shopping for Shipt is the flexibility and freedom it offers, both from scheduling and placement,” she says. “Our shoppers are free to put themselves on the schedule whatever frequency they want and wherever they want.”

Shipt keeps the money end of the deal in app.

“[A customer’s] credit card is stored in the app, but we actually have our own cards that we use that are funded and that is then charged to the customer,” Polhemus says. “Once the shopper delivers the order, there is in-app tipping available.”

The tipping is actually a recent addition that came at the request of Shipt’s customers.

Though they only launched in January, Shipt is already seeing that they’ve found a good market for their service in Columbus.

“We just want to be there to help simplify people’s lives,” Polhemus says. “As Ryan has taken us to meet different people throughout the city…we can totally see the opportunity, not just for helping families, which you can imagine is the majority of our target market, but also helping young business people who are getting started and really working hard and have busy lives and don’t have a lot of free time.”

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Feature photo via Shipt Facebook.