Ultrafast delivery operator Gopuff launches retail sites in NYC

Ultrafast delivery operator Gopuff launches retail sites in NYC

Phil Puccio

Dive Brief:

  • Gopuff officially launched its 30-minute instant-needs delivery service in New York City last week, according to a company announcement.
  • Its footprint in the city includes more than a dozen locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens. This includes an unspecified number of retail stores that offer walk-in service and also fulfill delivery orders, a company spokesperson said.
  • Gopuff plans to double its sites in the city and also expand to Staten Island by the end of 2021.

Dive Insight:

After spending several years as the lone instant-needs delivery option in many of its operating markets, Gopuff now enters a city that’s teeming with direct competitors, many of whom also operate in major European cities. 

The move promises to test the leading company’s marketing, technology and assortment as it rapidly scales up and faces growing threats from startups, as well as established retailers. 

As part of its launch, Gopuff also opened an unspecified number of retail stores that offer walk-in service and also fulfill delivery orders. The company didn’t offer specifics on the stores’ operating model, but it recently noted it is rolling out multiple retail store formats as it seeks to reach more customers and penetrate new markets. Planning documents in San Francisco recently revealed a modified dark store format that includes an ordering kiosk for in-store shoppers.

Each dark store Gopuff operates carries more than 4,000 national and global products along with “hyper-local” selections. In New York City, those local items include brands like Levain Bakery, Momofuku, Van Leeuwen Ice Cream and Grady’s Cold Brew. Gopuff plans to hold a series of local brand promotions on select items over the next 10 weeks in order to juice interest.

Although most instant-needs startups in NYC advertise delivery in 15 minutes or less, Gopuff notes in its announcement a focus on 30-minute delivery, which is the average time it touts in its other markets. Asked if the company plans to speed up its service times in the city, a spokesperson said it still plans to deliver in 30 minutes, but customers are likely to see faster service. In a recent podcast interview, co-founder Rafael Ilishayev said Gopuff is trying to bring down its delivery times.

Gopuff, which launched in 2013 and spent years operating mostly in college towns, has been on a rocket-fueled expansion drive over the past year. It recently hired a longtime Amazon executive to head up operations, launched a fresh meals division and has acquired delivery management technology, overseas delivery companies, alcohol retailers and an app-based coffee shop as it grows. 

Over the past year, Gopuff has opened more square feet of space than it did in the previous three years combined, according to Wednesday’s announcement.

So far this year, the company has announced more than $2 billion in funding and is currently valued at $15 billion.

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