Eataly Toronto makes a cross-Canada e-commerce play

canadiangrocer.com

Building on the success of its GTA delivery service, the retailer is expanding its reach throughout the country

Rebecca Harris | March 18, 2021

Italian food emporium Eataly Toronto is bringing a taste of Italy to more Canadians with online delivery.

Eataly, which has more than 35 locations globally, opened a 50,000-sq.-ft. location in Toronto in late 2019. The concept combines grocery, foodservice and classes and events—all focused on Italian food and culture—under one roof.

Nico Dagnino, managing director of Eataly Toronto, says the company hadn’t made big investments in e-commerce, since the concept is all about the in-store experience. “Of course, the pandemic changed this dramatically,” he says.

In May 2020, Eataly Toronto began delivering meal kits to customers in the Greater Toronto Area via a courier, but wanted to expand the offering beyond meal kits.

eataly-eto_sm_spreads-dry-retail1_1080x1920Dagnino says in Europe, Eataly was building a new global e-commerce website. However, with the rapidly evolving pandemic, Dagnino was given the green light to find a local partner to get things up and running quickly. He partnered with Grocer Box, which focuses on independent grocers, to create an e-commerce site serving the GTA, ShopToronto.Eataly.ca.

The site, which launched in October 2020, lets customers shop Eataly’s vast array of products, including produce, fresh pasta, meat and seafood, dry goods, dairy and eggs, and more. Dagnino says the site represents 5% to 10% of total retail sales, which jumped to 15% to 20% during the holidays last year.

Following that successful launch, Eataly Toronto went national with the launch of ShopCanada.Eataly.ca. The product offering is currently limited to gift boxes, pasta,
sauces, chocolate and sweets, coffee, olive oil, and cured meat, among other items.

“With Shop Toronto, the goal is to be a mirror of the shopping experience inside the store in terms of product selection and availability. In addition, if we do a promotion in the store, the promotion is also online,” says Dagnino.

eataly-boxes_tasteofpesto_600xOn the other hand, Shop Canada is more of a gifting platform, with specialty items and gift boxes available year round. “We’re still working on optimizing how we can provide our DNA—our eat, shop, learn essence—into the website as well,” he says. For instance, that might include storytelling and including recipe cards in customers’ orders.

Dagnino says the Shop Canada website sells mainly to customers in Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver, but it does get orders from smaller markets, too.

“Now, we’re working on building on awareness in those markets,” he says, adding that might involve tactics such as influencer marketing, targeted marketing and community outreach.

Dagnino adds that Eataly Toronto is also looking to expand the product selection on the Shop Canada website beyond dry goods. It’s currently testing packaging to allow products to travel at the right temperature over time.

Delivery fees start at $15 for orders within the GTA and vary from there based on location.

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