An interesting discussion got started on Twitter over the weekend and has migrated to blogs to continue the conversation. It started when Laura Fitton mentioned how happy she was to be able to do her grocery shopping while in her pajamas. She uses Peapod to order groceries online and have them delivered.
Merlene complained: “I’m jealous.. I’m *just* at the edge of suburbia and the online grocery shops won’t deliver this far. Asking for 11 yrs now.”
I added that I had used Peapod years ago and wished they had not discontinued service in our area. That led to speculation that perhaps they had launched too early. Merlene responded: “Exactly. A lot of companies (not just grocery) who tried to sell online 10 yrs ago not doing it now because of early losses. I’m in a city of +500k and within an hour there are over 5 million ppl. Huge market. But I can haz grocery online? NO!”
Anna Lenardsen jumped in to say, “My brother is trying to launch a similar (peapodian) type venture on a local level in Michigan,” and asked for suggestions.
As usual, the Twitter community was quick to respond. Following is a sample (in reverse chronological order, with apologies to those I may have missed outside my twitstream):
BarbaraKB @conniereece “tweet specials” Now, that sound intriguing. I don’t do coupons. No time for clipping & remembering. Ugh. Just give me the deal
shawnz @conniereece It could be created single sheet 8.5×11 and put on flyers all over neighborhoods, businesses, etc. Pick one up anywhere. Fax it
shawnz @conniereece This ALL OUT OF pad is what I’m talking about: http://snurl.com/1xs7v Use something like this for an ad.
shawnz @conniereece Have you seen those grocery store staple lists? Where you just check things off you need? That should be his ad. Just fax in.
kdpaine @conniereece I’d offer a discount as a member benefit to local church groups, quilters, professional associations etc
hardaway @oemperor. Repeat experience establishes trust. It’s about performance.
hardaway @oemperor. Absolutely. But grocery staff turns over. I’d like a vegetarian produce picker.
oemperor @hardaway if bashas.com were more like dating service, with ability to select personal shopper based on profile/prefs, would you like this?
hardaway @conniereece. You know what I mean. Sometimes I get ugly produce and meat. Or they forget something. But it is great service
oemperor @shawnz delivered to you automatically, on request only, or both?
hardaway @conniereece. Worst thing about grocery delivery: depends on the produce piclker or butcher picker.
jeremymiddleton @conniereece I think if you go to smallsmallbizpod Alex Bellinger posted a site of a guy in the UK doing the same thing
mourningcloak @conniereece what kind of online grocery is this? a pickup service, delivery service, both, or mail-order type of service?
oemperor @alenardson create hashtag for local online market eg igrocery in arlington va could use hashtag #igrocery22206
conniereece @alenardson You can use 3rd party Twitter clients to search by zip code/location – think it’s Twittervision? Somebody help me out w/ name.
hardaway @oemperor @conniereece. My grocery delivery: Bashas.com, “groceries on the go.” Saves my last list, gives me the specials.
oemperor @conniereece hmm…modeling online grocery on dating service, in terms of establishing TRUST between shopper and shoppee
oemperor @conniereece or if you want metrics based matching between personal shoppers and customers, steal a page from eharmony
alenardson Re: twitter for local marketing: is there a way to tap into local tweeters?
oemperor @conniereece have each personal shopper, and each customer, complete survey “8 things most important to me in shopping”
conniereece @oemperor Excellent idea of offering oppty to meet shoppers – hold “class” at grocery store when they begin using service.
oemperor @conniereece perhaps trust factor via personal online relationships. “i am avail to shop 4 u weekday aft. i pick newest bags of frozen peas”
oemperor @conniereece perhaps if you can meet the shoppers so that you can trust them to do what you do
conniereece @oemperor @alangutierrez Yes, but w/ perishables online grocer can tout services of thr “experts” & build trust factor by delivering quality
jeremymiddleton @conniereece @alendarson think that, that is a good idea, you could post things like whats fresh in season etc, just arrived new line!
agershenbaum @conniereece visit gigya.com and gydget.com
oemperor @conniereece i suspect @alangutierrez may be right. you lose control if someone else touches and picks out your food. esp for perishables
Merlene @conniereece offer a monthly or weekly discount coupon for subscribers to e-flyer, twitter, etc.
conniereece Question: @alendardson brother starting online grocery delivery service. Suggestions for using social media in their marketing? I’ll compile
conniereece @oemperor Discussion w/ @merlene @paulswansen seems to indicate too early to market, too tradtl in mktg approach. Your thoughts?
alenardson @merlene what else besides twitter? to reach a broader public. Not a particularly progressive community.
oemperor what shuttered the earlier online grocery efforts? lack of customer interest? no cost effective delivery? spoiled fruit?
Merlene @alenardson and sprinkle some tips, links to recipes, etc. to create flow of useful content to tweets/blog/etc.
Merlene @alenardson twitter profile for business. Daily tweets of specials, etc. with link to site. Easy opt in advert for those who want it.
Following our 140-characters-at-a-time marketing conversation, Ontario Emperor developed his ideas into a blog post saying that online grocery services should be like online dating services.
- Peapod does very well here in chicago, and I used freshdirect in nyc.
- Peapod is great about hiring for personality. Drivers are friendly, chatty, helpful. Plus they know the merch, always making product reccos, bring the occasional gift. You welcome them into your home instead of fearing wierd delivery guy.
- Another trick to try – unique foods that you can only get from the service. Famous cheesecakes, salt lick, some special cheese company, rare beers, cult classic comfort foods (mallomar).
- How about gift boxes – sick kid box, breaking up with boyfriend box
Andy gave one last tip that is always worth noting: “Remember – free advice is worth what you pay.”
I wish that Twitter pals CK, DrewMcLellan, Mack Collier, BL Ochman and Toby Bloomberg had been online because I would love to hear their suggestions. Perhaps their interest will be piqued and they will offer advice in the comments here or blog about it themselves.
Thanks for the question, Anna, and I hope these tidbits are helpful to your brother’s new venture.