How To Thrive In The Supermarket Industry
One of the hottest topics right now is online grocery shopping. Amazon, Kroger, and Wal-Mart have slowly started dabbling in the e-commerce game. While many news outlets and experts predict online as the next big thing, it is still to be seen. There are still questions such as, the quality of produce that will be chosen for the customer, what will be done if something is out of stock; basically, anything dealing with decisions that only the customer can make. Another hot trend right now, thankfully, is anything to do with natural and organic. Whole Foods was one of the firsts, but now there are health chains like Fresh Thyme, Fresh Market, Trader Joe’s, or big name companies like Kroger that have amazing organic options. The US’s supermarket industry is extremely competitive and always changing; there are a plethora of players and customer loyalty is one of the prizes to be won.
For this month’s Transformer piece I chose to write about Gunnar Lovelace, the CEO of Thrive Market. Thrive Market is a new player in town and is hoping to thrive (pun intended) while combining online shopping and natural and organic options. As the website explains, the founders want to make healthy living accessible to everyone regardless of income level, geography, or any other barrier. They also share two realizations: “(1) that living healthy in America is too hard for too many people, and (2) that it shouldn’t be that way.” The basic business plan is this: customers pay $60 a year and gain access to more than 4,000 products, all at wholesale price. Before customers commit to a year they can register for free, receive 15% off their first purchase, and start a free 30-day membership trial. The company was founded in 2013, but spent an entire year perfecting its business model, deciding which brands would be sold, and meeting with health experts, advisors, and entrepreneurs. While the company may still be relatively new, only having been launched on November 3, 2014, it is already making headway in the news by being described as a mix between Costco and Whole Foods.
As stated, once customers start their free trail, they can choose from more than 4,000 products and receive free shipping on orders over $49. Some of the brands sold include Weleda, Dr. Bronner’s, Spectrum Naturals, and Garden of Eatin’. The product categories include Food, Bath & Body, Beauty, Health, Baby & Kids, Home Goods, and Selects. Customers can also shop by categories such as: gluten free, moms, paleo, raw, staples, and vegan. All of the products sold are at a wholesale price, meaning that instead of paying $12 for coconut oil, customers pay $9. (It is actually a little incredible just how cheap most of the items on the site are.) Once ordered, products arrive in boxes that are made from recycled papers and that are also recyclable.
If you are skeptical of the site like Jaime Hartman was, you can read her product review here. Basically, she ordered the same seven products from Thrive, Amazon, and Whole Foods and discovered which company was the cheapest option. The totals came out to: Whole Foods at $113.07, Amazon at $100.47, and Thrive Market at $72.05. In the end, she was very pleased with her experience and said she would most likely continue to use the site. Her only complaint was that it took a week for the items to be delivered, which seems like a long time when you are used to two day delivery with Amazon Prime, and that one of the items broke open during the delivery process. The company apologized for the mishap, gave her a refund and 10% off her next purchase.
On July 30, the company received an amazing $30 million in its second round of funding from eleven investors. Some of these investors include John Legend, Demi Moore, Toby McGuire, Deepak Chopra, Jillian Michaels, and Tony Robbins. The company plans on opening a distribution center in Indiana to speed up the delivery process for its East Coast customers; as of now all of its operations are out of California. According to TechCrunch, “Thrive Market has grown to 1 million registered users, with more than 100k active members, with 75 percent conversion from the free trial to a paid membership. According to the founders, Thrive is tracking to $100 million revenue run rate for the first year since launch.”
To check out Thrive Market for yourself visit: www.thrivemarket.com.