While meal kits and grocery delivery services continue to rise in popularity — seeing 36 percent growth in just the past year — convenience comes at a price. For a family of four, a meal kit can cost over $12 a person.
Working parent Katie Hotze knew that having to fight her way through the grocery store would eat up her time. But while easier, meal kits were eating her family budget.
“I really struggled to find recipes, aggregate ingredients, figure out the best sourcing — all while at work. It was a constant drain,” says Hotze. “As a digital marketer, I just assumed that at some point there was going to be an offering that would solve this problem.”
After trying different options, Hotze decided to do some customer discovery of her own. She spoke to other working parents about the need for a solution that merged meal planning and grocery shopping.
“The busy consumer at the grocery store is visually scanning the aisles for inspiration until something clicks,” says Hotze.
“On the other side, today’s consumer environment for online grocery shopping is the exact same as for product goods. If you’re shopping for soccer ball, you see the exact same user interface as you see for a box of spaghetti and spaghetti sauce. There hasn’t been an adjustment to the user experience to address that gap of visual gap.”
Hotze founded recipe-to-cart platform Grocery Shopii to enable better meal planning.
“The same ingredients that [meal kit companies] are shipping you across the country, you can source from your local grocery shelf,” she says. “You don’t need to be a part of this subscription model. With Grocery Shopii, you can source them down the street and they can be loaded on the back of your trunk in two hours.”
Grocery Shopii integrates into a grocer’s website. The consumer goes to the store’s site (or app) to search through 500,000+ recipes.
As they select recipes, their shopping cart automatically fills with all the needed ingredients. The shopper reviews their cart to remove any ingredients they already have at home, check out, and schedule a pickup later in the day.
Hotze and her CMO Louise Pritchard went deep into customer behavior to reduce the purchase barrier as much as possible. Hotze explains that the auto-fill feature helps reduce high rates of abandoned e-commerce carts.
“We’ve automated those features that the users told us are least important to them like brands.” The profiles can even be set to adjust to dietary restrictions.
Originally, the team thought they would appeal to smaller grocers, but they now have received great interest from stores that own over 2000 stores nationwide.
Unlike most consumer-focused grocery delivery services, Grocery Shopii operate on a B2B model where the grocer pays a licensing fee for the software. This allows the grocers to look at their consumer data and use it to their advantage.
The startup remains bootstrapped for the time being as the team is hyperfocused on growing their revenue.
Featured image by Corey Miller Photography