Why Retailers Should Pay Close Attention to Shipt

March 28, 2018

Why Retailers Should Pay Close Attention to Shipt

Shipt may be the reason I never drive to the grocery store again.

By Sally Smithwick, managing editor

At the winter Fancy Food show in San Francisco  this year, our own Phil Lempert was the moderator for a fascinating retail panel with food industry leaders. Included on that panel was Harley Butler, head of marketing for Shipt. Coupled with my curiosity about the people in green Shipt shirts always shopping in my local Publix, and  Butler’s comments about how the company aims to nurture the relationship between the customer and the personal shopper, I was intrigued to try the service. I have now used it three times in my Donelson community in Nashville, TN, and I’m not sure I’ll ever drive to the grocery store again.  

Butler was spot on when he described Shipt’s approach to grocery delivery. And the personalized service was probably the most compelling aspect of my experience, but there were a couple of other benefits I found as well that I was not expecting. And for a frame of reference, I am actually a person that loves to shop at the supermarket, but I have two small children and a hectic schedule that can make trips to the store challenging. I’ve tried Amazon, but the product selection was too limited for me, and I’ve tried Kroger Clicklist, which I found to be convenient, but you have to put your order in 24 hours ahead of time. 

When I signed up for Shipt, the $14/month service fee seemed steep, but after one order, I knew it was going to be worth the price. For my address, Shipt will go to Target, Kroger or Publix. When you start your order on the app, one of the first things you’ll see is an “on sale” tab. The first thing I did was go through the sale page and choose what I wanted from there. Then I went straight to the other categories to fill in the rest of my list. Now, I have been averaging $150-200 a week on groceries for my family of four. Shopping on Shipt’s app at the same store knocked my bill down to just under $100. I can attribute these savings to that nice and tidy sale tab I took advantage of as well as the lack of temptation to overbuy, which always happens to me in the store. 

When my order was complete, I chose a window for the shopper to work on my list and deliver my groceries, and there were options in as little as two hours from the time I ordered to another day. Score! The first time I ordered, I had nothing to make for dinner that night, and I wanted to avoid spending $50-60 going out or ordering from a restaurant. More money saved. 

Are you ready for the really cool part? I was notified by text when my personal shopper began fulfilling my list, and just minutes later I received a text from my shopper that said, “Would you like your avocados ripe?” I hadn’t even thought about that, but I was so glad she asked! As she went through the store, she also asked me a couple of questions about items that weren’t in stock. She even sent me photos of suggested substitutions, so I could decide almost as if I were in the store.

When she was finished shopping, she alerted me that she was on her way to my house, and upon arrival, she brought the groceries into my house and put them on my kitchen counter. She was friendly, helpful and quick. We talked about how old our kids are and where they go to school, what neighborhood she lives in, etc. And I was pretty sure that even if she isn’t the same shopper for me the next time I order, I will probably run into her somewhere in my community. I tipped her $17 on the app (not required), bringing my total to somewhere around $117 for a week of food for my family and the additional monthly fee of $14. With gratuity and the service fee, I still saved money.  

Now I haven’t been back to the grocery store in three weeks. I have had three different shoppers, all communicating with me while they shop about products on my list and all delivering excellent service. 

So Harley Butler, you were right about the personalization of Shipt and how meaningful this is for the customer. And I’m sure Publix is pleased with the partnership as well, as this service/app will keep me shopping and spending money in their store.