Bodega owners see super-fast delivery as a business killer – RetailWire

Dec 17 2021

Bodegas are go-to places for snacks, sandwiches, essentials, and other quick purchases in New York City. But the city’s iconic and often crowded convenience retailers are increasingly concerned that they are on the verge of being replaced.

Trade associations representing wineries in New York City’s five boroughs are calling for financial help from the city and fear the super-fast delivery could threaten the livelihoods of bodega operators, according to Brown stone. The United Bodegas of America group plans to close thousands of family-owned wineries within six months, as customers opt for 10-20 minute delivery rather than stopping at the bodega a few blocks away.

The group and other trade associations also want the city to help implement technology that will allow wineries to stay competitive in today’s business environment, such as apps that make it easier to order online from their businesses. One of these apps, called My Bodega Online, already serves a handful of bodegas in the Bronx.

Photo: RetailWire

The growing number of super-fast delivery services in the city typically offer either delivery from large retailers and restaurants nearby, or delivery of an assortment of products that they keep in their own warehouse.

If the small independent supermarkets in the rest of the country do not necessarily have the same dependence on pedestrian traffic as the bodegas, it is possible to imagine an ultra-fast delivery which also reduces the purchases of products from first necessity.

On the other hand, services that once seemed poised to steal shares of space from convenience stores have not proven to be a major problem until now.

Amazon Dash Buttons, for example, intended to facilitate easy, no-store restocking of essential household items – many of which could be purchased at a convenience store or bodega – failed to catch on. Amazon launched the technology in 2015 and killed it in 2019.

There is, however, a precedent for app-based services that disrupt elements of city life that were once considered unshakable.

Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft quickly destabilized the taxi industry a few years after their introduction.

And yet, there appear to be indications that industries disrupted by apps are in a position to bounce back. Taxis seem to be becoming more and more popular again, at least in Chicago, as popular ridesharing services increase prices, CBS Chicago reported.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think that the concern of wineries to be pushed out of existence by super-fast delivery is justified? What can bodegas and other mom and pop c-stores do to stay relevant to lightning-fast service?

Braintrust

“We New Yorkers certainly love our amenities – whether it’s fast delivery anytime of the day / night or to the local grocery store / bodega. There is always a mix of the two in most neighborhoods. “

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