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Getting Into Shipt Shape: How Shipt More Than Doubled Its Workforce in a Matter of Months and The Impact it Has In On-Demand Grocery Delivery

The future of technology in the on-demand delivery industry

At this point, it’s old hat to say that 2020 was a pretty wild year — countless industry experts have waxed poetic about the long-term implications that will stem from the acceleration of ecommerce we’ve seen this year. But Joe Manning hasn’t just been talking about adapting in the face of change, he’s been working to make it happen

Joe is the Chief Business Officer at Shipt, an on-demand delivery service that gives customers direct access to thousands of grocery items and retail shops like Target, Best Buy, CVS, and national and local grocery stores all through a mobile app. Prior to joining Shipt, Manning spent more than 10 years with Starbucks working on channel development and CPG, but when he recognized that the world of grocery delivery was growing, he knew he wanted to get in on the action.

“I came across Shipt and … the founder was talking about how the quality of the shoppers and the personal experiences between the shoppers and the customers was the competitive advantage that Shipt was going to capitalize on,” Manning explained.

“I do really believe people have a personal connection to the food that they consume, the foods that they have in their homes, and that’s different than what a lot of other companies are talking about. A lot of other companies were talking about the technology, and how technology was so important, and it was changing the landscape. Technology is important, but I really love the way Shipt talked about the personal connection, and the quality of the shoppers, and how that was the area where Shipt was going to invest, and it was going to win.”

This year, Shipt has been investing more, and Manning has been on the front lines of scaling Shipt into a larger organization that can still be relied on to deliver not just products, but quality experiences to Shipt customers, employees and partners.

Earlier this year, Shipt doubled the size of its shopper network to meet the growing demand for grocery delivery. And now, as the holiday season is in full swing, the company has added more than 100,000 shoppers to its network. Not every company will have to scale as rapidly or extensively, but the ecommerce companies that want to thrive moving forward will have to continually adapt and move forward with a holistic mindset.

“During the holidays, every retailer is trying to put together the pieces to support their customers and enable them to get the products they want in a way that works for the customer,” Manning said.

For Shipt, that meant scaling its shopper network, investing in last-mile delivery, and working on its platform to bring a personalized experience to the customer in every way possible. Whether that was through substitutions, different membership options, or building real relationships with Shipt shoppers, Manning said that putting the customer and shopper first is the way that ecommerce companies can win. And when Manning focuses on the Shipt shoppers specifically, he explains that even though they are gig workers, creating an amazing work environment for them is critical for the success of the brand.

“I think too often, some of the technology companies look at the gig economy worker as a cost and we look at it the other way,” he explained. “We celebrate them, they’re a phenomenal brand representation, and they represent our brand, and they represent the retailers with whom we work. And so, the more they feel good about what they’re doing, the more we can help support them to do a great job.”

But the support isn’t only coming from Shipt corporate headquarters. Shipt shoppers have taken it upon themselves to build communities and help each other, which ultimately impacts the company’s bottom line in a positive way.

“The shoppers build such an amazing community amongst themselves,” Manning said. “And it’s great because they share best practices. They share tips. They’re great resources for new shoppers who again maybe are a little bit hesitant or uncertain about how to operate. And then they celebrate with each other…. they recognize that the stronger the community they build, the better the customer experiences are going to be, which is going to drive more volume, which is going to be supportive for everybody. And it’s really exciting to watch.”

As more shoppers and customers come online at Shipt and throughout the world of ecommerce, taking all of these factors into account will be more important than ever. To learn more about how Manning and the Shipt team is working toward a big future, tune into Up Next in Commerce.

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Up Next in Commerce is brought to you by Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Learn more at salesforce.com/commerce

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