Locally founded mobile app provides grocery delivery service

May 03, 2016 No Comments by

by Arlana Shikongo

With a busy schedule and co-curriculars, Susie Brancaccio, a student at Ithaca College, has resorted to a new, convenient method of obtaining their groceries. She, along with other students, have embraced using the local grocery delivery app: Rosie.

Chief operating officer and cofounder, Jon Ambrose, said the service was started in September 2012 and officially launched in July 2013. He said positive feedback has led them to expand and grow as a company.

Ambrose said the company has three co-founders, two of whom were students at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management. He said the idea was inspired by the realization that many newcomers in a city may not know where the best grocery stores are or how to get there.   

“We looked and we saw there’s a lot of people who can really benefit from this, whether you’re new to town or not,” Ambrose said.

Alyssa Nappa, the marketing strategist at Rosie, explained that Ambrose approached grocery stores and informed them about e-commerce, which are commercial transactions conducted electronically on the Internet, and how they could benefit.

“Jon went door-to-door marketing the service. It was really about awareness and informing the different retailers about the opportunities that were available to them,” Nappa said.

Ambrose said that grocery stores struggle to engage digitally with consumers, which poses a problem as the retail shopping industry is moving online. He said that Rosie provides retailers with the tools they need to operate a great online shopping program.

“We’re partners to help them implement the service and have it look the way they want it to look,” he said.

Ambrose said that Rosie is an opportunity to help grocers compete against larger national chains.

“Amazon and Walmart are talking more about online shopping and delivery and that’s a threat to local business, and this is a way to provide a service to consumers but also empower local grocers to compete,” Ambrose said.

Brancaccio said she started using the service because it was convenient and proved to be cost effective.

“To get to the grocery store you have to take two buses, so that’s $3 if you don’t have a bus pass, and the delivery for the service is $2.99 so I realized it was essentially the same,” Brancaccio said.

Brancaccio said that although the app allowed her to obtain her necessities in a timely manner, she discontinued its use because the minimum purchase amount was too much.

“The minimum purchase is $30 and it’s not that much money but at the same time, I don’t usually spend $30 in one trip,” she said.

Despite this, Brancaccio said that she thinks Rosie is a great service, especially for college students without cars and that although the minimum purchase price requirement doesn’t work for her, it is reasonable to have one. Brancaccio said the app was relatively easy to use and navigate as well.

“Basically, you go online and make an account and then it has different categories for food, like pasta or meat,” she said. “The day of delivery they call you and show up right in front of your door.”

According to the website, Rosie provides the options of delivery or in-store pickup, and allows you to shop by recipes or re-order past purchases.

“There are two different services: you can pick your groceries up in-store or have them delivered to your home and depending on what the contract is with the retailer, there is a specific price set for in-store pick-up and a price set for delivery,” Nappa said.

The website emphasizes community contribution stating that it partners with leading retailers that are often family owned and commit to sourcing locally produced food. Ambrose explains that the company is committed to making every customer happy.

“Grocery stores need to be willing to offer a very high level of service to every online customer and the way this really becomes important is the issue of trust,” Ambrose said.

According to Ambrose, there is a common misconception held about what food items individuals would order online due to the sensitive nature of dealing with food. Trust is a major element in the success of the service.

“Fundamentally when someone shops online they’re trusting someone to pick out their food,” Ambrose said. “Someone is handling their items and making selections about what food they’re going to get and that’s an incredibly personal process.”

Ambrose revealed that perishable foods are the top selling items despite the misconception that people do not want to order fresh food online.

Rosie is established in 14 states, with seven stores located across New York State. Nappa said the company is currently partnered with 50 different retailers.

“We expanded across central New York initially, and we kind of used that as a launch point to share the story with the rest of the country,” Ambrose said.

Nappa said they will continue looking for new partnerships and means of expanding. She noted that new features are constantly being added to the mobile app and web page to find ways to make it easier to use.

According to Ambrose the service is a good fit for many people, however, the problem is that they don’t know about it or don’t know why they should care. He said that they are looking into doing more marketing and campus-targeted programs. Ambrose said that although the founders thought the service would be most popular among this group, the results have proven otherwise.

“We really haven’t had much of a chance to explore ways to impact that, so whether it’s versions of guerilla marketing being done on college campuses with handouts, giveaways and contests and anything else like that, that’s certainly something we’re looking into doing more,” he said.

Business, Social

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