Fast-grocery delivery startups like Getir, Gopuff, and Gorillas, once heralded as the next big thing in on-demand grocery, face logistical challenges that may be impossible to overcome. Even in the face of exorbitant competition and operating costs, they are taking the steps they can. Case in point, Gopuff today launched features aimed at eliminating some of the platform’s biggest weaknesses, such as the inability to schedule orders in advance or pick up orders from nearby stores.
Starting today, Gopuff customers can place an order when the Gopuff Market closes – exact hours depend on the market – to have Gopuff deliver the order as soon as it reopens. (Needless to say, this does not apply to locations where Gopuff delivers 24/7.) Instead, customers can schedule an order in advance for a specific date and time, similar to most major food delivery apps, or arrange for an order to be picked up where Gopuff retail stores offer. And shopping in stores.
The in-store shopping experience is still somewhat limited. According to Gopuff, only at BevMo! Outlets – Remember, Gopuff acquired BevMo! , the alcohol retailer, for $350 million in 2020—and New York City locations are shopping for an in-store option. However, Jopf says that strict online application reception will be offered at “many locations” (it’s unclear how many), with hours mirroring in-app application hours.
Gopuff also offers a gifting service, which will allow customers to add gifts to their cart for recipients on and off the platform. Once you enter the recipient’s address, name, phone number, and a gift message, both the gift recipient and the sender will receive a text message confirming that the gift request is being prepared. The recipient will also receive SMS alerts when an order is closed, delivered, or cancelled.
Gopuff did not initially respond to TechCrunch’s question about whether gift recipient information is being kept for marketing or other purposes. Gopuff, like many other app-based products and services, collects a wide range of personal information which it reserves the right to use to target advertisements and promote its subscription services, as well as to share it with third parties including business partners and “affiliates and affiliates.”
In a follow-up email, a Gopuff spokesperson clarified that no gift recipient information is preserved for use in these ways.
The new features are only available via the latest Gopuff app (version 8.1.0), the company notes, which began rolling out nationwide this morning. While Gopuff has partnerships with Uber and Just Eat Takeaway to make its inventory usable through Uber Eats and Grubhub, respectively, the company says customers using those platforms won’t be able to take advantage of scheduling, gifting, and pickup orders — despite the fact Uber Eats and Grubhub support these features for most other companies.
Gopuff has been through a rough patch recently, no pun intended. Originally intending to go public as soon as mid-2022 after hiring former Disney CEO Bob Iger as an advisor and investor, Gopuff this summer pulled out of Spain, one of its markets, to cut costs, and laid off 10% of its global workforce. . More downgrades hit Gopuff in October — mainly affecting its various customer service departments — as the startup reportedly sought to secure a line of credit of up to $300 million to counter inflationary headwinds.