Human-Powered Businesses Deliver when Algorithm-Based Grocery Apps Don’t

Joel Shapiro
Mar 19, 2020 · 4 min read

Shelves are empty.
Delivery wait times are days long.
Who’s handling your groceries? You don’t know.

The reality is that grocery delivery apps that have built their business on algorithms, not people, are failing. Sky rocketing demand for grocery delivery has all but shut down algorithm and rule-based apps that can’t deal with today’s COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic.

Local shoppers that run their own grocery delivery businesses are becoming heroes to the people they serve.

These individuals are using their brains, local knowledge and connections, and a strong commitment to find solutions for their clients and community — proving yet again that humans, not technology, are best equipped to solve problems and deliver kindness (and groceries!).

Instead of trying to explain the impact these amazing individuals are having
during these difficult times, I’ll let the reviews submitted by their clients over the past week paint the picture.

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Annapolis, MD

“ Kay’s service was outstanding. When supplies were low at my store, she spoke to the manager to get an idea of when they planned to restock and was waiting in line the next morning to get the items I needed. I couldn’t be happier with the level of service she provided. I will definitely use her services again.”

-Victoria F.

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Haithem E.
The Grocery Concierge
Denver, CO

“Thank you for your exceptional service once again. Talk about going above and beyond! Multiple store trips were made to find everything on my shopping list. Much appreciated”.

— Robyn H.

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Alice O.
Fairbanks, AK

“Alice is my hero!!! Even though stores are packed and shelf’s are empty she managed to get as much as she could. She truly is amazing. So patient and friendly I recommend her to everyone!!!! Best shopper ever!“

-Chelsea M.

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Michael P.
Shop with Michael
Boca Raton, FL.

“Michael is the definition of what delivering world class service should be. Even in these corona virus-induced shopping shortages and long lines, Michael goes above and beyond and does his best to be sure my order is just as requested, and does it with enthusiasm and good cheer. As a homebound caregiver, I have come to rely heavily on Michael’s stellar service and he has never let me down. I would highly recommend him without hesitation to provide for any of your personal shopping needs.”

— Anna S.

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Juanita V.
Shop with Juanita V.
Fresno, CA

“Juanita is my angel! I am 73 and the primary care giver for my husband, a Vietnam war vet with Parkinson’s, I can’t always be away shopping. I have been able to count on her to be not just helpful, but also accommodating, congenial and resourceful. Her work far exceeds anything I’ve experienced using Instacart. She has gone out of her way to help us meet our needs. We thank God for her and the work she does”.

— Janice S.

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Suze Q Shops for You
Redlands, CA

“This was my first time using Suze and she was very sweet and professional and even though stores are running short or supplies she really made sure I got what I needed. Thank you for helping our community during this time”.

— Rebecca H.

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The Brian S. Shopping Experience
Northeast Los Angeles, CA

“Brian was a superb shopper during a very difficult time when everyone is hoarding things and emptying the shelves. He kept in constant communication telling me what was left as possible substitutes for the items on my list.

I didn’t have any paper items or water on my list knowing they were likely sold out, so the kind of items I’m talking about were different sizes and brands of things like dairy. Also for instance there was no more bread, at all, yet he took the time to tell me what muffins and refrigerated biscuits they had left.

He went out of his way, and he spent a lot of time on my order that he didn’t have to under the circumstances. I can’t recommend him enough. He’s dedicated, and definitely a pro”.
— Mary K.

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Tracey G-R
Your Personal Shopper
Cherokee County, GA

“Tracey was my germaphobe hero this morning. Both instacart and amazon canceled my online orders. Tracey was great before and while she was at the store — even letting me add additional items that I had forgotten! Service with a smile”!
— Mary A

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