Bigger baskets and booze: Inside Urbery’s very good year

Grocery delivery services claims an average basket size of $145 in July, while its top customers have spent as much as $10,000 since the service debuted

Urbery isn’t straying from its roots as an online grocery shopping service, but founder and CEO Mudit Rawat is finding out that leading CPG companies are increasingly keen to tap into its extensive customer insights.

The company has embarked on strategic pilot projects with the likes of Unilever and Kimberly-Clark Canada that feature couponing for the former’s Ben & Jerry’s ice cream brand and a combination of on-site sampling and drops in customer’s grocery orders for the latter’s Cottonelle brand.

“They’re very different experiments to see what works,” says Rawat, taking a break from loading Cottonelle products into a 200 square-foot storage space in Toronto’s Liberty Village neighbourhood in advance of launch of the sampling program. “The beauty of being data-driven is that you understand what’s not working really fast and you can fix it really fast, versus the offline world where once you’ve made a decision and a product ends up in a store, it’s going to be there for a while.”

While Rawat says the company is not pursuing these types of projects, clients are increasingly intrigued by the wealth of customer data housed within Urbery’s servers.

READ: Urbery announces product enhancements

“We realized we were sitting on something that brands would like to work with,” says Rawat. “The whole idea that consumers are going online is still quite new, and brands are still trying to understand what the customer looks like.

“Unlike offline retail, we have the ability to use data and analytics to help them understand their customer better.”

For example, Urbery discovered that many people ordering bananas were also including Ben & Jerry’s ice cream with their ice cream. The response: When customers add bananas to their cart, they automatically receive a pop-up offering them a $1-off coupon on their favourite Ben & Jerry’s flavour.

Urbery is subsequently able to determine how many people expressed an interest in the offer and how many people ultimately redeemed the coupon. “We’re able to take that entire journey and report back to brands, and they really find it powerful,” says Rawat. “They’re finding product affinity and have the ability to target those customers.”

These pilot projects come at an opportune time for Urbery, which has seen revenues increase 175% over the past year thanks to a growing user base—including a growing number of corporate clients, who now comprise approximately 20% of its customer base—and increased basket sizes.

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Rawat says that Urbery has retained approximately 70% of its user base, while users are increasingly using the service to do a full grocery shop rather than select items. That is reflected in the average order, which was $145 in July compared with $110 in the same period last year.

Rawat says that some of Urbery’s top customers have spent as much as $10,000 with the service over the past 12-15 months as they grow increasingly comfortable and familiar with the service. The addition of alcohol late last year has also contributed to the company’s growth, with Rawat noting that approximately 20% of Urbery’s orders now include alcohol.

Rawat is hoping for a 20% increase in month-over-month revenue during in the key back-to-school period, as people return to what he calls “a more regular lifestyle”