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The folks at Shipt’s booth (#837) at FMI Connect, which took place June 21-23 at Chicago’s McCormick Place), were all abuzz with the grocery delivery service’s latest news: It was launching in its 26th market, Houston; about to enter another Texas city, Austin; and to expand in Dallas, all through its ongoing partnership with San Antonio-based H-E-B. With those gains in the Lone Star State under its belt, the company appeared to be a good part of the way toward its ultimate goal of going national.
Asked what distinguished Shipt from the rest of the grocery delivery pack, Anne Adams, community manager at the Birmingham, Ala.-based company, cited its membership platform, which costs members less than $9 a month as long as their grocery order is under $35, with no surge pricing, and its large coverage area, which usually includes a market’s suburbs and outlying areas.
Ahead of a market launch, Shipt will normally hire about 300 independently contracted shoppers – rigorously screened and trained by the company – and then build on that number depending on the needs of the area, explained Adams. The job enables people to choose their own schedules, she added, with ratings from customers maintaining quality service.
Indeed, Shipt is highly tuned into its users via social media: It’s live on Facebook 24/7 to respond to any issues. In fact, as Adams and Digital Marketing Manager Micah Whitehead attested, the “relationship-based” company has even leveraged customer feedback to make business decisions. Shipt started out doing deliveries for retailers such as Home Depot, but branched out into grocery based on recommendations from members. Similarly, once the grocery business was established and had rolled out to Tampa, Fla., customer requests for it to expand to Sarasota were granted, Adams and Whitehead recounted. “Our business is built on social media,” noted Whitehead, while Adams asserted, “Customer service is our top priority.”
Further, in keeping with its brief of community engagement, Shipt teams with various nonprofit organizations, particularly – and fittingly – in the area of hunger relief.