CINCINNATI — Six months after launching his home-delivery service, Grocery Runners, founder Bryan Melendez is convinced he made the right call.
“It’s gone wonderfully,” he said. “The passion level we receive from people who use the service is ridiculously high.”
Melendez said eight to 10 customers each day call Grocery Runners to pick up their online orders from Kroger’s ClickList system and bring those groceries their home. He expects the company to start making a profit in the next seven to 12 months.
“We’re nowhere near where we need to be yet,” he said. “But every month has been better than the last.”
“I think the sky’s the limit,” he said.
Online grocery shopping is approaching a tipping point in the U.S., according to a January report by Morgan Stanley. The investment bank predicts a 60 percent increase in the category this year to $42 billion. That’s only 6 percent of all U.S. grocery sales, but the percentage of shoppers sampling online grocery options is expected to triple to 26 percent.
“This spike in anticipated online grocery spending speaks to a shift in the way that consumers think about shopping for food,” said Brian Nowak, lead Internet analyst for Morgan Stanley.
The nation’s biggest grocery chains are testing online offerings. Michigan-based Meijer has 20 locations that offer curbside pickup of web orders, including four stores in the Dayton area.
“Consumers are just wanting home delivery, period,” Melendez said. “Besides the people who just use it for convenience, there’s a whole market out there that needs the service.”