Is Foxtrot Market an app or a store? “It doesn’t matter,” says Mike LaVitrola, co-founder and CEO of the urban neighborhood “corner store” that was born online and today is embarking on a 50-store physical expansion behind $66 million in funding that also delivers its goods in about 15 minutes.
During its digital-only phase, LaVitrola applied his computer science degree to the drivers of demand and issues of sourcing—it had 120 vendors for about 1,200 SKUs, he said—which in turn, sparked the need for physical warehousing that were to become its stores. Sales are about 50-50 bertween the app and the shelves, and among the same customers.
Also speaking in this session was Deidre Zimmermann, chief customer experience officer at Raley’s, who provided insights into the company’s groundbreaking Raley O-N-E concept. The company intentionally debuted this format in a new market, the Lake Tahoe tourism-heavy Truckee, Calif., so as to not shock existing shoppers by a dramatic assortment evolution emphasizes organic, fresh, minimally processed and sustainably sourced items. That reckoning would come, however. “I’d be lying if I stood up here and told you we got off to a great start,” in expanding the concept, she confessed. “We made a lot of old customers upset that they couldn’t buy junk food anymore.” On the positive side, those on board with the changes are buying more, she said, and new customers are coming to Raley’s for the first time.