- Shipt will become a delivery option for several regional grocers located across the country, including Weis Markets, Price Chopper, Save Mart and The Brookshire Grocery Company, according to a news release. The deal is a partnership with digital solutions company Mercatus, which provides the online, mobile and click-and-collect capabilities for each of the grocers.
- Representatives from Mercatus told Food Dive the partnership allows a full end-to-end e-commerce solution for retailers. Grocers have the option of adding Shipt delivery as they see fit, and shoppers will be able to shop through the Shipt site and app as well as from the retailer’s individual platform.
- Shipt also recently partnered with Rouses to offer same-day delivery from stores in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette, Louisiana. The Southern grocer also partnered with Instacart in various markets.
Correction: The story headline and first bullet point above have been revised. Shipt is an an optional delivery provider for retailers under the Mercatus partnership, not an exclusive one.
To take on the likes of Amazon and Walmart, companies are turning to creative partnerships and acquisitions to offer the strongest grocery delivery and pickup solutions they can. Target did this when it acquired Shipt for $550 million, and now e-commerce providers are following suit.
Following the acquisition by Target in December, questions swirled around Shipt’s viability as a standalone business. What will happen to its existing relationships with H-E-B, Meijer and others? Would these retailers be willing to line the coffers of a close competitor? And will Shipt be able to expand the service to new retailers?
Clearly, Shipt’s offering still resonates with grocers. Nearly four months after its acquisition, the company's services come to grocers in several key regions, including the Northeast (Price Chopper and Weis), South (Brookshire) and the West Coast (Save Mart).
Regional grocers are especially nervous about Amazon and Walmart’s e-commerce growth and want to shore up their online offerings to make sure they can compete in the fast-evolving landscape. Tim Zimmerman, Mercatus’ sales director, told Food Dive that some of the grocers it serves will likely add Shipt delivery as soon as possible — particularly those in metropolitan areas, where delivery tends to be most popular — while others may wait on a roll-out. Increasingly, grocers like offering both home delivery and store pickup, as these tend to serve different customer needs.
The move is interesting because Shipt is choosing to partner with another digital provider rather than provide the end-to-end solution itself. According to Zimmerman and Joe Hall, Mercatus' director of accounts, the deal plays to the strengths of both companies. With its digital platform, Mercatus offers digital coupons, tie-ins with loyalty cards, and other integrations. Shipt focuses on delivery logistics, its core strength.
Food Dive reached out to Shipt, but no executives from the company were available for comment.
The deal is also notable because it echoes Instacart’s recent acquisition of Unata, another digital solutions provider for retailers. In an interview with Food Dive on the sidelines of the Shoptalk conference, Instacart’s chief business officer Nilam Garenthenian said Unata offered numerous capabilities that Instacart didn’t have, like digital circulars, recipes and shopping list capabilities.
“If you want to be the retailer’s best friend, you need to serve all of their digital needs,” he said. “[Unata] had a number of services we don’t have, and that we could plug into.”