Days before the pandemic first sent most of Ontario into lockdown, Vince’s Market signed a deal with Instacart to introduce online shopping and delivery service across its five stores north of Toronto.
The plan called for a mid-summer roll-out, but Vince’s partner Giancarlo Trimarchi realized the need for online ordering was too urgent and in-demand to wait until mid-summer. Rather than move directly to implement Instacart, Vince’s quickly created its own boot-strapped version of online shopping. It was a relatively basic option with simple functionality, but it got the job done.
But now, nine months later, Vince’s is ready to roll out the much more advanced online ordering and delivery option with the official launch of the Instacart offering to its customers.
“Our customers are going to get a best-in-class e-commerce platform,” said Trimarchi, in a release. “That is something we were unable to do on our own.”
By now, most in the industry will be familiar with the Instacart model of online ordering picked-and-packed by Instacart employees who deliver the order to the customer. Shoppers can communicate with their customers in real time to decide on substitutions or answer any questions about size or, for example, ripeness of produce.
As a small independent grocery chain, Trimarchi said Vince’s will continue to deliver the same level of service even if it is enabled by a third-party technology. All orders are being filled directly from one of Vince’s stores as opposed to a warehouse or distribution centre.
“We rotate everything in our ‘fresh’ departments daily,” said Trimarchi. “We bake fresh every day. In our deli, meats are still being sliced to order, not pre-sliced. Overall, the customer is receiving the same experience—and quality—as if they were shopping themselves.”
Vince’s is offering a service radius of about 30 minutes drive-time from each location. Fees depend on distance, and could be as low as $5 but are more often in the $10-$15 range.
“Because we’re small, we are able to micromanage our offering to make sure we are giving customers what they want,” said Trimarchi. “That applies as much online as it does in-store.”