How to Make the Online Grocery Pickup Model Work in Our Hoods

zmarket Imagine if former NAACP leader Leon Jenkins from Detroit wanted to buy some sardines and crackers, neck bones, bag of pork rinds with the hot sauce packet but he don’t want to be seen in public with a dried out World of Curls. Thankfully there is an emerging grocery model that will allow people like Leon Jenkins to go grocery shopping without stepping inside in a grocery store! This concept is known as online grocery pickup and use the emerging retailing concept of “buy online/pickup in store” or BOPIS. In this article we are going to introduce brothas and sistas to the online grocery pickup model, talk about the advantages for the hood and how to implement the model in the hood. I think the takeaway is many cats will realize not only this business model is doable, but all the components to actually do it have been discussed on this blog over the years. The Online Grocery Pickup Model The online grocery pickup model allow customers to use their mobile device or desktop computer to shop for products similar to an e-commerce web site. The customer can also have a credit card on file and will indicate what date and time to pick up their items on the web site or software. The grocery pickup location is more of a warehouse where only employees are inside picking orders and putting them in a basket. The pickup spot will have a car park area for customers to arrive, confirm their order and pick up their order when the grocery pickup operation brings out to load in their car. Wal-Mart announced they will pursue the online grocery pickup model that allow customers to order online and visit a car park area similar to a drive-in restaurant from the 1950s to receive their grocery order. I’m providing brothas and sistas blueprints of the layout for their review. walmart_plan [click image to enlarge] You should notice that Wal-Mart is planning 15,000 square foot warehouse and you should notice the car parking slots and the big stripe path in the center where the orders are taken out the warehouse to the car. I remember others like Publix tried this with curbside pickup and you also have Swiss Farm and SmartMart that you can find videos on YouTube that done something similar. But the one model that already done what Wal-Mart is talking about and what we are talking about here as the idea online grocery pickup model is Zoomin out in Kansas City. The video show the staff picking products from the shelves as the customer make an order from the comfort of his home. Then you see the customer show up and enter some stuff on a kiosk and the staff come out with his grocery and load up in the car. Advantages of the Online Grocery Pickup Model The Online Grocery Pickup Model biggest advantage for the hood is that it eliminates the majority of issues starting up and running a grocery store operation. Let’s go through the awesomeness and benefits of why the hood should consider this business model. Membership Model. The grocery operation know the customers they are working with because they are registered users. No more funky cats hanging outside the store trying to sell food stamps and I had an ex-girlfriend that like to fall on the floor of these retail establishments and sue their insurance for $30K, real talk. With this model, the grocery operation focus on knowing their customers and if customers want to trip, can remove them from the service altogether. No more loitering also, just nothing but cars with orders to pick up. Better Inventory Control. Hood grocery operations no longer have to worry about cats shoplifting or boosting from their store because they will never be inside of a store. The only ones inside are employees and because only staff is inside, better technology such as RFID and even laser/cameras can be used to manage inventory to every last item being tracked in real-time. This gives the grocer the ability to show real-time availability of products on the web site and inform the user when an item is sold-out or being restocked. Single Parents with Kids. A working single parent do not have to worry about shopping when they get home from work, they can manage their grocery list on their phone and simply pick up their items with their child still in the car. This prevents some brat screaming and crying for a toy or some kind of food because the kid is never in a store but sitting in a car seat. Ride-Sharing Services Compatible. People who don’t got cars can use Uber, Lfyt or ZipCar to just go and pickup their grocery order and be in and out in little time versus shopping and having to call a cab. To me, this is a game changer for the hood that allow many car-less people stay in the community and shop and spend more money. This Create Good Jobs In the Hood. Brothas and sistas in the hood can have a stable entry-level jobs in the hood picking orders to managing the RFID technology and maintaining the kiosks. Also create opportunity for STEM jobs to work on the web site or cloud management service and also do buying and other retail operations. These are some damn good jobs that can come as a result of this online grocery pickup model directly in the hood. Data Analytics and APIs. Because customers are making online orders, it is possible to detect trends in the hood in terms of what people are eating and the intervals they are buying stuff to be able to stock inventory more efficiency – regular grocers have to play a guessing game on these aspect. When it comes to APIs, you can have software cats like me create stuff where I can create a lifestyle grocery list for cats who want to diet for the running club and just pay and pickup prepackaged grocery list orders. If I want to do lamb chops or oxtails, a grocery can quickly assemble all the ingredients so now we going to a whole new level of lists and grocery list management. How to Execute the Online Grocery Pickup Model in the Hood deliver You want to know the cool part? You brothas and sistas can get this business model up and running quickly in the hood and you know the funny part? Dream and Hustle already covered in this blog over the years on how to setup this hustle. So I already know how to make this happen and now let me break it down. Create STEM Components. You should use a responsive HTML5 e-commerce template and customize it. These templates are only about $20 and you can customize it to the server-side language of your choice. For the pickup kiosk – I recommend the hood-based online grocery pickup model use a person to come out physically and verify the order versus buying kiosk machines. You should also have a system to track all of the inventory and this can be cloud-based or server-based. Create Web Site to Gather Intelligence. Using the article I wrote about SQL Server Merge feature, you can create a $5/month GoDaddy coming-soon site that allow people to enter products and stuff they want to buy. It is also possible to let them scan UPC codes using a mobile phone and enter into your database. What will happen is you will see a list of items that the hood buys and then you will know what to stock up front with better intelligence. This allow you to start from the ground up and anybody willing to invest in your operation will be impressed with your ability to engage the hood, sign up potential customers who are ready to do business with you. Find a Location in the Hood. In the hood, the ideal location will be able to accommodate parking and this is most likely going to be an old truck depot or rail yard depot lot. It is possible you can make a deal with the local politicians to give you that land for free and also get TIF funding for your business because of the fact you are creating local jobs and a serious tax generator for the community. The location will also have to be off a main street or have access to a main street. While most hood buildings still have old warehouses that can be refurbished, it’s probably best to acquire an abandoned grocery store building as your best bet. Execute a Kickstarter Campaign. Now that you got the software created with HTML5, the signups and registration from your coming soon page and have a location, it’s time to start the Kickstarter fundraising. Create a video presentation talking about how you will be creating jobs in the hood, solve the food desert problem in the inner city. The one thing about Kickstarter is you have to do a dog-and-pony show and go on a tour to raise money. You cannot be sitting there thinking money just going to come from nowhere online. You got to get out there and hustle hard to raise money. Start Hiring, Start Buying. Once you raise your funding from Kickstarter, use that money as leverage to start hiring a staff and start buying equipment and inventory. Have a job fair for cats to do construction, the sistas to do the picking of products and brothas to deliver to the trunk. If it was up to me, I would hire illegal immigrants pay them under the table and hire no one from the local community and if ICE come knocking, have the illegals run out the warehouse and scatter around the hood and come back to work when ICE leave. If the local community want to complain about no local jobs, then I will just buy KIVA robots to do the work but that just me and my mentality. Start the Business. Bring the local politicians and news crew to opening day and cut a ribbon or whatever. Watch the orders start coming in, have the cars park and your staff greet them and bring them their groceries. Be ready to anticipate items going out of stock and what items are being requested and make sure your inventory is lean. You are taking money over the Internet and try to use techniques such as prepaid card and direct debit to avoid high merchant fees. Then once you have the business narrowed down, take this model and open it up in another hood and another hood and another hood. You Ain’t Gotta Like It Because the Hood Gonna Love It jobs The hood will definitely love the online grocery pickup model because it’s a win-win solution for the Black community. The business model create both entry-level jobs and STEM jobs and the community will know they are shopping at a place that hiring their own people. The biggest thing I think is a game changer is leverage ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft to pickup people who don’t got cars and get their groceries and they don’t have to walk anymore to a grocery store and carry heavy bags homes, that’s a real big deal. But most important this model is more safe and secure because you don’t have to get kids arrested for shoplifting because they will never be inside the store. The employees I believe will know it ain’t jobs around the hood and they better appreciate a local hood job that can help them pay the bills. But most important is this online grocery pickup business model can be expanded to different hood areas around the nation competing with Wal-Mart and other upstarts by focusing on the hood. It would not surprise me to see this business model bought out for a billion dollars by a big box retailer if a brotha or sistas just get into doing something real to get something running in the inner city. Bonus: You want to know how to really kickstart this hustle? Create a contest before actual launch for the hood to create a basket and 5 winners get everything in their basket for free. That will accelerate intelligence gathering for knowing what products to buy ahead.

18 thoughts on “How to Make the Online Grocery Pickup Model Work in Our Hoods

  1. I cannot post on the article that I really want to post on because you closed the comments. I assure this Sista is listening in regards to the micro cube concept. Id already had the idea but didn’t know what it was called. Then I found your article and within a week, lo and behold, the boutique down the street from my home is already doing it. Guess where I live? Chinatown! When my mobile store launches this summer, it’s all part of the plan. Thanks for affirming.

    1. Me and my team in Asia is already engaged in Asia over this model. We agree to call the concept “micro-spaces” and looking at ways to engage micro spaces with mobile devices. I will follow up with articles on my progress.

  2. It beats spending all the time spent walking around the store. It saves money on the customer and the store end. I like how that same database is a template for however many hustles you want to put out.

    1. Yep everything in this model I covered on this blog before. When I ran a kiosk selling drinks downtown I created a order online pickup in store mobile web site and demonstrated the front end and back end. A qr code was generated where I scan it and have their order ready. The web site and code is still on godaddy.

      Problem is I had too many black people trying to hate or ignore what I was doing back then instead of using the stuff I put out to do things like this. Our people could have been made this real…

  3. I love this article! I am not going to sleep on this at all. I think it is a great idea and would curb shoplifting, create jobs, and a sense of pride back into the community. I believe with this option, I can pick the items that are the best for the shoppers versus getting the stuff that most grocery stores in the hood receive. It will be better food, better service, and better business. I love it and I am making my business plan as we speak…and will get my Kick starter soon enough. I will let you know my updates and statuses. I will not sleep on this! 

    1. This concept will work in the hood as it resemble the hood car wash model. Also we covered a lady a few years ago who started a grocery store in a food desert and she helped lobby for Obama to proposed and sign into law the JOBS Act for crowdfunding.

      There is nothing new here for us so I’ll look at republishing the old articles to cover the components.

  4. A few observations: The 3rd and 5th districts (64 square miles of the hood in KC) have somewhere in the neighborhood of 25% of its residents with Internet access. Smart phones proliferate, but broadband is a digital desert. We see and can confirm this in the extremely low utilization of the parent portals for homework, attendance, etc…., consistently less than 10% of the household census for each school location. Grown folks not using these Internets anywhere near as often as they ought to be.

    In order to be successful demographically in these hoods here, somehow or another you will have to figure out how to enlist the kids in these households as the primary consumer influencers driving their household’s utilization of these services. Kids have about a 90% utilization of the student portals, using their smart phones and wi-fi devices to access online services they’re required to access. That 90% vs 25% online utilization datum will be determinative for your outcome in a market like this one. I’d be very surprised Ed if our digital divide breaking along generational lines is substantially different from any other urban hood economy.

    Aldi is taking over the hood here using it’s long shelf-life and low service/self-service german model of grocery delivery. Aldi is snapping up junctures on the public transit lines and using that as the means by which it’s picking up the hood grocery trade in Kansas City. Aldi takes EBT, Debit, and Discover and does cash back up to $200.00 per transaction, so it’s also functioning as a kind of hood ATM for many of its customers.

    Also, and continuing a little from above wrt the digital divide and how it could impact utilization in these hoods here, Lyfte and Uber are catching regulatory flak here for impinging on that cab medallion business model which is taxable by the authorities.

    I think I would try to enlist the kids to have some involvement with this up front in the kickstarter phase of the campaign, and figure out how to incentivize kids to become agents for the adoption and use of this model serving households that will otherwise not be served. In fact, I’d almost have kids go help the elderly place their orders and then run a hustle on having the kids use public transit (bus pass) to do pick up and delivery. You still see lots of elderly taking cabs to the grocery store outside the hood, which indicates they’re paying a true premium for transport and access – which premium could be greatly reduced by a kid assisting with ordering, pickup, and delivery for a modest fraction of the action.

    1. I think the biggest market for the hood is not fixed income old folks but the WIC chicks with EBT and babies and also unmarried urbanists. A lot of adults in the hood still living in their parents house filling in the gap. Post 2007 housing crisis driven many adults to leave the burbs and move back with mommy in the hood.

      I thinks places like Detroit have plenty of sites and keep in mind that public libraries and nursing homes are a source to educate in the hood. While I said uber and lyft you know there are bootleg cats in the hood willing to drive a hood chick and her momma to the store.

      I do notice hood chicks are very savvy and will quickly learn how to maximize their grocery list. Keep in mind nursing homes and churches can place commercial orders on behalf of old folks and load up the church van or nursing home bus.

  5. Without even looking, I guessed that our Zoomin site would be somewhere out in the far exurb, Sure enough, O-O-O-lathe. Olathe Kansas is damn near Pluto as far as Kansas City is served.,-94.775417,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x68d580d8ac4f1672

    The interpenetration of broadband internet out there runs nearly 97%. So, contrasted with our hood 25%, where we have to worry about getting Internet access to 75% of our households, the Olathe public school district only worries about furnishing broadband access to a tiny minority (3%) of the household census that it serves because broadband access and use out that way is so pervasive.

    That’s also going to be primetime car commuter country, where folks have already driven 40 minutes each way into and back out of the city for work, and consequently don’t want to spend any extra time shopping. Zoomin makes perfect sense given those factors.

    Atlanta is at least as sprawled as we are, so I wouldn’t presume to speak for how it would work there, but black folks are tightly concentrated in certain areas of the city, and have generationally defined habits of commerce and communication that might make this grocery model a hard nut to crack in the urban core.

    There’s a way to do it, but it’d have to be changed up. Frankly, I much prefer the idea of having kids assist with ordering, pickup, and delivery as it becomes both a job creator, intergenerational community builder, and it involves kids in the understanding, refinement and extension of the hustle.

    1. I prefer kids to assist as they cheaper than kiosks but it got to be good kids not cats checking other people money but there can be control like keep the kids inside the building.

      If it don’t work there is a lot of places in Japan, Korea and Brazil where it could work..just saying…

    2. Is mobile penetration being considered as opposed to broadband in high density markets? I think the hood is all on mobile 4g versus broadband

  6. Absolutely the hood is all on mobile 4G, and not the major carriers either. Cricket Wireless probably trailed at 2nd place by T-Mobile is all in the hood. That’s an amazing fact given that this is Sprint’s hometown. Something could probably be done with either or both of them, in fact, getting in those Cricket store fronts would probably be some indispensable up front marketing.

    T-Mobile is the wifi provider on the metro bus lines. There’s an old broke pimp who puts his flyers all over the buses, him and the uh scented oils man. Old broke pimp will come and pray with you/for you. The oils man of course selling knockoff Polo Red in little roll-on oil vials. Both of them get around prolifically and have superb hustle game working from sun-up to sundown and on saturdays from what I can see. Broke pimp makes four bi-fold flyers out of florescent bright copy paper with all his information, then puts these on the seats of buses that he rides from end-to-end all across the city.

    I think those flyers could also go out in the libraries and community centers, as well – near the public Internet access workstations. I would recruit good kids at the school tutorial and church tutorial programs to work this hustle and also line up members of their churches and folks at their schools to participate.

    I’m just spitballing with you Ed based on what I’ve observed after a dozen years of close and careful observation, but if you filled in the marketing gap up front with kids as intermediaries, and the gap on the back end with kids (driven around in a church van) as order assist/fulfillment/delivery intermediaries – then this model starts to have legs in an urban core like Kansas City’s.

    At that point it’s all down to whether or not you can keep your price points lower than Aldi.

    1. Lol ok I know about the fluorescent 1/4 flyers from the Leon Jenkins era.

      Transformative business models that create solutions require the hood to transform into residents who want solutions.

      This business model require an influx of young adults in the hood and has to be recognized as an economic development solution. It I’d not a novelty solution for status quo broke cats in the hood.

      With job creation means working class brothas and sistas who live in the same community and pay taxes. It also attract other middle class people to establish economic stabilization. So one of the biggest challenges will the hood allow their own to become working class or will poverty pimps intervene trying to keep the hood broke and busted?

      It will work but the biggest risk I seen has always been the regressives…

  7. OMG!! I came across this article in my internet retailer magazine it was a feature on this business model. I think it would work in our communities, something I would develop with my father. He wants to open up some kind of store but I was thinking what would Ed do? lol. I want to incorporate the groupon model into a warehouse setting that is perfect for my cities expanding downtown area.

  8. I’m definitely going to be putting together a plan and get some strong investors as well as raise funds for this project. I want to start one here in L.A. and back in my hometown Fresno.

  9. Ed,
    Since you wrote this article, I’ve been thinking about what a good idea it is. So, I decided to come back and watch the videos and lo and behold, I realize that I used to drive past the SmartMart when I lived in Memphis. When the video started and the man was turning into the parking lot, I was like, that looks familiar.

    The store didn’t look like it does now. Back then it was a plain, blank looking convenience store with no customers. But it seemed to be still in business. Now I know why. When I was thinking this concept, I was picturing a big warehouse or something, not realizing that a smaller model had already been done and I used to drive past it everyday.

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