Trend alert: omni-convenience

Take a look at who's capitalizing on consumers' desire to get what they want when they want.
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Ease is the name of the game, as today’s consumers want to get things quickly and hassle-free. Check out the latest services hoping to win over consumers with convenience.

Beyond grocery delivery

Grocery giants have been making their mark on the convenience game, from long-time player Longos/Grocery Gateway to more recent entrants like Loblaws and Walmart with click-and-collect offerings, along with new delivery service, InstaBuggy. But a recently-launched Toronto-based platform aims to distinguish itself with an expanded scope – delivering anything from dry cleaning to retail to pharma with a team of freelance couriers (similar to Uber).

Toronto-based JoeyCo runs on a system based on three pillars – consumers, merchants and Joeys (couriers) – each with their own app. The process is interwoven with the aim to make it as efficient as possible (consumers for instance, can track the Joey delivering their purchase in real-time.) The platform offers an online marketplace of merchants’ virtual storefronts, where consumers can purchase and pay for the delivery of items.

But the company also aims to provide logistics solutions for businesses, enabling a restaurant, for instance, to push an organic order to JoeyCo or a retailer to immediately deliver a brick-and-mortar purchase from another location (if a size wasn’t available) to a customer’s home. Costs start at $5 and increase based on delivery size and distance, while the team reports the average delivery time downtown has been 33 minutes.

The non-billionaire’s concierge

While JoeyCo aims to establish an interactive marketplace of sorts, a similar service is touting its simplicity.

GoGenie, recently launched in a few cities in the Greater Toronto Area, facilitates consumers’ delivery requests (going beyond typical products like grocery) through a few text messages. Users can text GoGenie to place an order or inquire how much something costs (such as a few grocery items), and GoGenie will reply with the fee and estimated delivery time, and place the order once the user confirms. Cost is dependent on factors such as time and delivery location, and users are sent a link to complete payment, which is handled by online payment processor Stripe.

The company has partnered with services such as Hurrier, Urbery, GroceryMarket.ca and IntsaBuggy to fulfill orders, but will also aim to complete them internally if needed, says creator and founder Avi Rothschild. And down the road, the hope is for GoGenie to develop its own software and implement a crowdsourced delivery model.

Even faster fast food

This fall, Toronto’s Air Canada Centre is expected to roll out MasterCard’s Qkr! program, which lets attendees order food and beer directly to their seats. (It was piloted in April and May during Toronto Rock games.) Users download the app, which integrates with the co’s digital wallet, MasterPass, and can register a credit card. They can place and pay for an order from the venue’s menu, and scan a QR code from their ticket or manually input their seat number. (Could this mean the end of bugging 10 people in your aisle to pass down your change?)

Meanwhile, order-ahead apps like Toronto-based Grabb and Ritual, Hangry (for post-secondary campuses) and Maegan (which also processes payments for eat-in orders and caters to ordering in hotel rooms and golf courses) are making the everyday take-out process more efficient. They enable users to place orders at participating restos and pay digitally, allowing them to avoid waiting in-store, not to mention reap benefits like real-time order updates and loyalty perks. And it’s a way for restos to get in on the action without investing in their own branded app.

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