- Online delivery service Shipt announced on Tuesday it will work with Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis to offer contactless delivery to residents across the Twin Cities metro area.
- Midtown Global Market, a cultural market and food hall that hosts over 45 local businesses, is a popular community gathering space that has faced substantial income losses this year. The partnership marks the first time Shipt has worked with a local collection of vendors, and the service is expected to last indefinitely, a Shipt spokesperson told the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.
- The Shipt partnership brings new visibility across a wide customer base to vendors of the market, which is owned by two non-profit organizations and dedicated to supporting budding entrepreneurs.
By reaching out to local businesses during the pandemic, Target-owned Shipt is taking a fast track to fostering community goodwill and building shopper interest in the platform. Although Midtown Global Market is still open with social distancing measures, the risk its vendors face is that shoppers will still be reluctant to patronize their businesses as positive COVID-19 case numbers surge in the Midwest.
For local grocers, building an in-house delivery function can be prohibitively expensive, so contracting out to a third party like Instacart or Shipt has become a lifeline.
On the other hand, some local businesses have instead taken to innovating their own delivery solutions or partnering with more localized delivery providers to avoid the loss of control, and often costs, that come with partnering with a major provider like Shipt. In Burlington, Vermont, several vendors have taken to doing deliveries themselves for orders made via their website, while a local grocer has launched an online ordering site for the city’s farmer’s market that accommodates nearly 20 local vendors.
Whatever the approach, it will be essential for small businesses and local vendors to have a digital presence during the holiday season, a time of year which has a particularly outsized impact on revenue. Digital marketing executive Jeff Rosenblum told CNBC that during the holidays, many small businesses “can sell as much as they do the rest of the year combined." And according to forecasting by Salesforce, the upcoming holiday season will see record-breaking digital sales and potentially strained shipping capacity.