- Online South Asian food marketplace Quicklly announced in a marketing email in late June a partnership with Shef, a platform for homecooked meals, including Indian and Bangaldeshi cuisine. Quicklly customers in the Chicago, New York City and San Francisco Bay metropolitan areas can now make scheduled orders for food from Shef.
- For Quicklly, teaming up with Shef helps it fill a gap in its food offerings, Quicklly co-founder Keval Raj said in an interview. South Asian cuisine is a big market for Shef, and the partnership allows Shef to expand its customer reach along with giving its chefs access to groceries from Quicklly, Raj said.
- Separately, Quicklly recently announced a food affiliate program where “brand ambassadors” can earn commissions for posting about their Quicklly orders on social media with a unique referral code.
Homemade meals are the latest frontier for Quicklly as it looks to meet demands for South Asian cuisine. The Shef partnership furthers Quicklly’s diversification of its offerings, which include ship-to-home meal and pantry offerings, same-day food delivery and catering service.
Since its founding in 2017, Quicklly has expanded from delivering from restaurants and other local businesses on its marketplace to offering service nationwide. In February, Quicklly announced it linked up with Instacart to sell ship-to-home meal offerings.
Raj said the homemade meals from Shef are most similar to Quicklly’s home-style cooked tiffin service, which provides smaller portions of single meals or snacks. Raj sees the Shef partnership as filling a gap instead of creating competition with the businesses already working with Quicklly.
The partnership also marks the latest cross-platform collaboration for the startup, which has a marketplace model similar to Instacart’s that connects customers to local businesses. While startups usually end up competing against or acquiring each other, Raj said Quicklly is looking to scale its business through mutually beneficial tie-ups, like its arrangements with Shef and Instacart, and intends to continue to seek out platform-to-platform collaborations.
Right after the Instacart tie-up, Quicklly saw demand skyrocket, with roughly 5,000 orders coming in four days, Raj said, noting the partnership has given Quicklly greater exposure outside of its primarily South Asian customer base. Quicklly “underestimated” the popularity of South Asian food beyond its target customers and expects the Shef partnership, like its work with Instacart, to help diversify its customer base for meals, Raj said.
In other recent efforts to diversify its offerings, Quicklly added Alphonso mangoes to its marketplace in May and in June made dessert boxes from Mithaas Snacks, Drinks and Sweets, a shop in Little India in Central New Jersey, available nationwide for one-time purchases or subscription plans.
People who sign up for Quicklly’s Brand Ambassador Program earn a 10% commission of up to $6,000 annually. They also learn about Quicklly’s new product offerings and certain deals before other people. Quicklly said in the announcement that anyone can join, regardless of the size of their social media following and whether they have shopped Quicklly before or not, and that visuals are provided for them to use in their posts. Brand ambassadors don’t have to buy meals or products from Quicklly to post about them, Raj said.
People who use the referral codes will get 10% off their Quicklly order.
The brand ambassador initiative helps Quicklly lower its customer acquisition costs and entices more people — both existing and new customers — to make purchases from the company, Raj said.
The referral program builds on Quicklly’s efforts to further engage its customers with monetization opportunities. Last summer, the company rolled out “Quicklly Masterchef” to let people submit recipes and receive a commission, in the form of cash or rewards points, for ingredients in their recipe that shoppers purchase. Raj said Quicklly is still in the process of revamping its Quicklly Masterchef offeing and has more recipe plans in the works.