PrestoFresh in Modern Deli Mobile

Steve deMoulpied, founder of online delivery firm Cleveland, Ohio-based Presto Fresh, shares details of his experience with launching an online grocery delivery business and explains the important role deli products play in the overall product inventory.

MDMobile: Briefly explain what prompted the company to get into the business of grocery delivery.

Steve deMoulpied: We feel there is an opportunity to help local/independent food retailers compete by partnering to offer their products to a broader market: we offer same day delivery to a 30-mile radius around a single store. For this reason, we have focused on developing a model that does not cannibalize our partners’ existing customers – we have data to show that approximately 95 percent of our sales are incremental new business for our partner. I don’t mean to make it sound easy; we’ve spent a lot of time refining our processes to eliminate as much waste as possible. We feel that we have a good model that is repeatable.

MDMobile: Are you finding that more and more customers are ordering online?

deMoulpied: We have been experiencing rapid growth, but it’s not easy growth. There is a fairly long ‘adoption period’, the time between when a customer hears about us and when they first place an order. There is a lot for them to consider: quality (will they pick products that I would pick for myself?), trust (will I feel safe with someone handling my food and entering my home?), website experience (do they carry everything I am accustomed to purchasing where I usually shop and can I find those items?), etc., etc. We have learned a lot since we started – and spent a significant amount of time and expense doing so! But we feel we have a good idea of how to operate now.

MDMobile: How important are deli meats and cheeses to your overall inventory?

deMoulpied: Extremely important. A substantial amount of our sales comes from the deli category/department. We offer everything that you would find in a full-line grocery store, so the majority of our products are packaged on a ‘per-ticket’ basis. However, a significant percentage of our sales is fresh-sliced.

MDMobile: What are the challenges of offering deli meats and cheeses for delivery?

deMoulpied: In a physical store, the customer can specify exact weights and cut type at the time of purchase. So there needs to be a process that allows for this – you can’t just sell ‘Boar’s Head Mesquite Turkey’, for example. We partner with retailers, so when it comes to pre-packaged deli items, we have found deli to be one of the more difficult departments to keep on top of product turnover, particularly in the area of specialty cheeses. There are many product variants here, and the department changes what they carry quite frequently to see what will sell well in the store. It’s challenging for us to manage what to add and what to remove from our site so that we aren’t selling what we can’t fulfill, and so that we do sell the latest/greatest products that are available.

MDMobile: How do you choose which deli meats and cheeses to carry?

deMoulpied: We partner with grocers and choose from their inventory when we decide which items to carry.

MDMobile: Do you ever, or would you consider, working directly with a meat or cheese manufacturer?

deMoulpied: We don’t today, but would consider partnering with wholesalers/manufacturers to distribute their products.

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