Grocery E-commerce Coop Italia Trials Crowdfunding and Grocery Vending Machines

Daniel Johansson (Retail Analyst)
06 April 2017

According to the retail magazine Instore Mag, the Italian grocery leader’s subsidiary Inres is piloting the two models called Spesa Social (Social Shopping) and Spesa Last Minute (Last Minute Shopping).

The first one is a crowdsourcing model enabled by a smartphone app. The shopper places an order via the app and selects the store in which this is to be picked up. The job is then assigned to an available picker. After the order has been completed, the picker places the shopping into chilled/frozen lockers located instore as instructed by the app and is then compensated.

The second concept functions like a vending machine of sorts, supplied by a mini warehouse in the back. Here shoppers can choose from different pre-packed grocery bags catering for different demands and occasions. Riccardo Olmi, Head of Special Projects and Digital Innovation at Inres said these automated stores could also be placed far away from its stores, in connection to the retailer’s petrol stations for example. 

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Daniel Johansson (Retail Analyst)
Daniel Johansson (Retail Analyst)

Opinion Could Be Even More Efficient With Home Delivery

06 April 2017

The Spesa Social model is interesting because to our knowledge crowdsourcing hasn’t been used for a click & collect model like this before. Retailers like Amazon and Instacart have used it for home deliveries, a proposition that we think makes more sense. In this way, expensive delivery costs can be avoided by retailers as shoppers pick up groceries for neighbours or other households on their way home. If Coop Italia would add this to the model – or the possibility to deliver the order to lockers located in residential areas closer to the shoppers’ home – then the model would make more sense.

We believe it is likely that the shopper wouldn’t care by whom the order is picked as long as it lives up to expectations and provides convenience. However, to us it seems like too many risks and complexities are involved with this scheme, as opposed to letting the employees pick the groceries.   

To date, Coop Italia only offers home grocery home delivery, through its Easy Coop service in the wider Rome area. This could be a sign that it is considering introducing click & collect, or maybe even Drives in the future, with or without a crowdfunding model.

Spesa Last Minute seems like it could be extremely convenient for the time pressed shopper. Food boxes as a rule tend to be ordered online and then delivered to home or picked up in-store. For those not wanting or not being able to plan ahead, a vending machine model could be the perfect impulse buy proposition.

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