A new online grocery delivery system to rival that of SkipTheDishes’ Express Lane is settling in Skip’s hometown.
On Tuesday, DoorDash announced it’s bringing DashMart to Winnipeg, while SkipTheDishes proclaimed that it’s expanding its grocery services across Canada.
Over 2,000 items, including fresh food and household goods, are available for delivery through DashMart, according to a news release from DoorDash. The San Francisco, Calif.-based company didn’t respond to questions by print deadline.
Users can order via the "convenience" tab on DoorDash’s app, or on its website.
"We accelerated our launch into the grocery and convenience categories amidst the pandemic to address a heightened consumer need for household essentials on demand," Shilpa Arora, DoorDash’s general manager of Canada, said in the release.
DashMart touts local products, including Bagelsmith bagels, and a plan to donate excess groceries and perishable items to local non-profits.
Members of DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service, receive free delivery fees and reduced service fees on orders over $12. The virtual grocery store will operate from 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. It’s also open in Toronto, Vancouver, Kitchener and London, Ont.
SkipTheDishes launched a pilot of its grocery delivery service, Skip Express Lane, in Winnipeg this July. It boasts nearly 1,500 offerings, with many local favourites, and deliveries within 25 minutes of orders being placed.
A new Winnipeg warehouse will open early next year — it’s one of 38 fulfilment centres the company said it will unveil by mid-2022. New hubs will pop up across Canada.
“In Winnipeg, we have seen that over 70 (per cent) of customers who order from Skip Express Lane return to place another order." – Kevin Edwards, SkipTheDishes CEO
"In Winnipeg, we have seen that over 70 (per cent) of customers who order from Skip Express Lane return to place another order, which speaks to the consumer demand for affordable and quick convenience and grocery options," Kevin Edwards, the Winnipeg-based company’s CEO, said in a written statement.
Skip reported a 900 per cent increase in year over year demand over the course of the pandemic, after it started partnering with local retailers to get products to doors.
In April of 2020, grocery and convenience orders totalled 19,000 per month. Now, Skip’s network (in Winnipeg, Toronto and London, Ont. sees more than 370,000 such orders monthly.
"Skip Express Lane fills a gap in the market, increasing the breadth of options available to customers," Edwards wrote.
Some of its top-selling items are Manitoba-made, including Spenst Bros Take and Bake Pizza, La Pampa Frozen Empanadas, and Pic-a-Pop sodas.
Its Winnipeg location is the first to offer fresh produce. Delivery fees range from $1.99 to $3.99, depending on distance; bills totalling $25 or more receive free delivery.
Consumers should note how much they’re paying for groceries on delivery apps versus in-person shopping, according to Munther Zeid, the owner of Food Fare.
Grocers supplying delivery services might charge more for their products to cover the revenue taken by couriers, Zeid said, adding he declined an offer to partner with one over a year ago.
"Based on the model they gave me, I’d have to raise my prices by about 15 to 20 per cent," he said. "We could not afford to do it."
Zeid isn’t worried the virtual shops will steal customers from his brick and mortar stores.
"I’m a true believer — when it comes to grocery shopping, people want to see and feel and touch the food that they’re taking home," he said.
And, many people choose what to buy while in the aisles, he said.
"They might be in the mood for a steak," he said. "Then, they come to the store, and it’s changed to a roast because of what they see."
DoorDash plans to expand DashMart in Canada next year. The service is already established in the United States.
Gabby is a big fan of people, writing and learning. She graduated from Red River College’s Creative Communications program in the spring of 2020.