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11/15/2021

Ultrafast grocery delivery startup goes live in Chicago

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Go Grocer uses dark stores to help fulfill customer delivery orders within minutes.

Chicago consumers have another new option for receiving grocery deliveries within minutes.

The Go Grocer ultrafast delivery app is now serving the entire Chicago market. The company, launching operations in Chicago in the same timeframe as Turkish ultrafast delivery platform Getir, has built a network of 16 brick-and-mortar stores.

These stores, which also serve walk-in customers, act like micro-fulfillment centers, helping Go Grocer fulfill customer orders in minutes. Primarily found in the grocery and CPG verticals, micro-fulfillment uses automated bots to retrieve grocery items from a compact storage center for streamlined picking. 

“Micro-fulfillment centers allow for high-density product storage and use shuttle systems or other forms of material handling automation to put away and retrieve products for consumer orders at high speed,” Tom Enright, VP and analyst with Gartner, told Chain Store Age. “The model is a goods-to-person style of automation and robotics, where the human stays in one place and automation delivers the goods to be picked to them.”

Go Grocer intends to continue expanding its store network across Chicago. The company is also in negotiations with several companies to outfit some current and new physical stores with “walk out technology,” which will utilize the Go Grocer delivery app for in-store foot traffic. Walk out technology will enable stores to offer any customer grocery delivery services to their home, as well as access to pre-orders to be picked up, minimizing the length of in-person store visits.

While ultrafast delivery services that fulfill orders in less than 15 minutes are nothing new, until 2021, in the U.S. they had mostly been offered on a highly localized basis by smaller platforms.

But European fast delivery startup Gorillas, which fulfills online grocery orders in 10 minutes or less, debuted in Brooklyn at the end of May. And Philadelphia-based Gopuff, which provides speedy delivery (in as little as minutes) of immediate everyday needs, is expanding on the West Coast. 

Days after Gorillas started U.S. operations in Brooklyn, Jokr, a new 15-minute delivery platform, launched in select areas of New York City. Founded by a New York-based team of former Walmart, Uber, Delivery Hero, and Softbank executives, Jokr promises to deliver mobile and online orders to its customers within 15 minutes or less via bicycle.

In addition, Buyk recently launched operations in Manhattan with a promise of fulfilling online and mobile orders in 15 minutes or less. Orders require no minimum spend and no delivery fee. New York-based Buyk plans to expand across all New York City boroughs by the end of 2021, and then expand operations in 2022 in the largest metro areas of the U.S.

[Read more: Ultrafast delivery is gaining momentum]

“What makes us unique is our variety of grocery items, fresh prepared meals and liquor selections. With 16 locations and counting, we are in a unique position to fulfill orders quickly,” said Go Grocer co-founder Paul Stellatos.

“Our 16-plus locations will act as salesmen incentivizing customers to download the app; therefore, giving us a zero-acquisition cost initially for downloads. We think this is a huge competitive advantage,” said Go Grocer CTO and co-founder Greg Stellatos. “We are active. We know that our customers’ time is valuable, so we intend to respect it.”