Delivering the goods: This Melbourne startup wants to break the Coles and Woolworths supermarket duopoly

A Melbourne based startup, one of the 12 companies chosen for the Tin Alley Beta Summer program, is preparing for a “David and Goliath” battle using technology to help independent food retailers compete against Coles and Woolworths.

 

YourGrocer founder Morgan Ranieri told Private Media the idea came about when he tried to visit local retailers after becoming “fed up with shopping at the big supermarkets”.

 

“When I wanted to go to the local greengrocer and butcher, they were always closed because I work full-time. There was a big disconnect – these shops were closed when I needed them – and also a big opportunity there to get these businesses online,” he says.

 

“So we’re building a business that does personal home deliveries from independent local shops, such as your local butcher, greengrocer, bakers, delis or independent supermarket. For the shops, we allow them to do e-commerce well and offer deliveries.

 

“And on the customer side, we make it convenient to shop locally. We think people like and prefer local shops but need convenience, and that’s why they end up at Coles and Woolies.”

 

Ranieri says YourGrocer offers independent retailers and customers a “full-stack e-commerce” and same-day delivery model, rather than just an online ordering system.

 

“We do – or facilitate – the deliveries, we help to get shops online, we do marketing as well, and we’re an online marketplace. We’re setting up a model where a local driver can facilitate deliveries, so a local driver goes to the shops once a day, picks up the orders and does the deliveries,” he says.

 

“We launched in May of last year, and now do about 100 deliveries per week with around $35,000 in sales per month. We’re just in the northern suburbs of Melbourne at the moment based out of Brunswick, we also cover surrounding suburbs including Coburg, Northcote, Collingwood, Carlton, Fitzroy and North Melbourne.

 

Aside from the inner-northern suburbs, YourGrocer hopes to add a second run in the coming months, and hopes to expand the service to 10 runs by the end of next year.

 

“Online grocery is growing at over 20% per year globally, it’s the fastest growing segment in the food and grocery sector. There’s lot’s to be discovered – and lots of disruption. The future, I believe, is in omni-channel retailing that connects online and in-store in a seamless way,” Ranieri says.

 

“I believe grocery is one of the biggest untapped opportunities in e-commerce. There’s lots of eyes, but still a low penetration rate compared to clothing and electrical… The big guys know this – and they’re scrambling on online delivery.

 

“Independent retailers also know online grocery is happening. But they’re not online marketers, and many say they lack the time, capital or expertise to do it, so we empower them to do it well.”

 

This week, YourGrocer is among the 12 companies selected for the 2014-15 Tin Alley beta Summer Tech Internships program. The other successful candidates are 121cast, MetaCDN, Xcheque, Rundl, Edrolo, Stacks, JDLF International, the City of Melbourne’s CityLAB, Whispir.com, Gyde and Hobart-based Sense-T.

 

With strong growth prospects ahead of it, Ranieri says there will be a variety of tasks open to the interns at YourGrocer.

 

“We have a small and experienced team and believe in T-shaped people, who have expertise in certain skills but are also capable of working in a broader perspective,” he says.

 

“The intern we are looking for could be working in improving our backend systems built in Ruby on Rails, develop new UI capabilities with AngularJS or help us with the mobile apps we are planning on developing.

 

“This is an exciting opportunity for someone who wants to get their hands dirty writing software from concept to cash and help us change the grocery industry in Australia.”

 

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