⚙️ How Gorillas Achieved 10 min Deliveries

Focus on one factor to differentiate

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Happy Sunday Operators ⚙️

I was in the middle of cooking for dinner with friends and just spent 2 hours grocery shopping earlier in the day.

I was just about to put the finishing touches on my fan-favorite lasagna, and to my horror, I’m missing one ingredient — mozzarella cheese.

My friends are arriving in 30 mins and buying one will probably take 40 minutes.

If only there was a way to get cheese in 10 minutes.

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Setting the Stage
The Quick Rise (And Deliveries) Of Gorillas

People valued two things most during the pandemic: their health and their time.

So in May 2020, Jörg Kartner and Kagan Sümer launched Gorillas, a grocery delivery service in Berlin. For a delivery charge of $2, their service can deliver all of your household needs in 10 minutes.

While getting emergency groceries delivered quickly was amazing, what made Gorillas more valuable was that people didn’t have to go outside. Mind you, this was during the height of the pandemic.

A survey found that 34% of people started grocery shopping online during the early days of the pandemic. Seeing its convenience, 60% would still do the same even after the health crisis.

Within 9 months, Gorillas reached unicorn status—the fastest startup to do so in Europe. Within 16 months, Gorillas was operational in over 60 cities in 9 countries. It’s a huge step up from being based solely in Berlin.

Gorilla’s claim to fame will always be its fast turnaround times. Even the most experienced grocery brands couldn’t compete with the promise of 10 minutes or less.

So, how did those two deliver groceries fast?

Two things:

  1. Full-time delivery riders

  2. Dark stores

Unlike other on-demand delivery services, Gorillas decided to hire full-time riders. They gave them a steady salary and access to benefits—the works. This made the role more attractive to would-be riders, so it took a short time before the company had its fleet of delivery riders.

By having thousands of riders, wait times were massively cut.

At the time, other food and grocery delivery apps didn’t have the same benefits as Gorillas. Many riders treated delivery service as a gig rather than a full-time job.

Dark stores are like your run-of-the-mill Amazon fulfillment centers. These “mini-groceries” ensured that riders didn’t have to wait in line. Of course, this also meant customers were only minutes away from strategically placed dark stores.  

You put two-and-two together and see why the 10-minute promise was more than possible.

Ops Tactic: When your service is a commodity, you should plan to spike on one factor that differentiates your service from others.

Why this Matters
Acting Fast For Customers Who Want It Fast 

A study shows that people are 50% less likely to spend money on a business if the service is slower than expected.

The study also revealed that two out of three people say that speed is just as important as price.

To be honest, this isn’t a surprising finding anymore. We’re in an age where people can get things instantly via the internet.

While others would call them “impatient,” I’d like to see them differently, and you should, too.

These are people who value their time more than anything. And I think that way because I’m that way — I wouldn’t want to wait long for a service I’m paying for.

The desire for speedy service begins near the buyer’s journey. Research suggests that 53% of consumers commit to the first company that responds to them. It doesn’t matter what the price is, either. Even if your business isn’t the cheapest option, you will likely make the deal if you respond first.

Your customers are eager to make decisions quickly. If you give them what they want immediately, they won’t waste time looking at your competitors.

Circling back a bit, quality and speedy service are worth paying for. Customers are willing to pay 19% more for readily available services. 

This applies to nearly every industry out there.

Running a law firm? Handle cases fast and always be available to your clients.

How about a marketing company? Begin working with your clients and start a campaign immediately.

People have always put a premium on speed. Just look at how Amazon and other e-commerce brands let you get your orders faster by paying for express shipping.

The Blueprint

Creating a speedy system without sacrificing quality is not that hard. Three things could help you boost your turnaround times.

I. Leverage Your Local Community

Gorillas’ dark stores were the biggest contributor to its success.

They could deliver on their 10-minute or less promise by bringing the groceries closer to the community.

If you’re running a business and need suppliers, it’s always a good idea to consider those who are nearby.

Logistically speaking, it’s more practical when your needs are within reach. Local sourcing has several benefits that are hard to pass on.

  • Quicker turnaround times - Gorillas’ speedy service proves that making supplies available nearby results in faster results.

  • Reduced supply chain costs - Studies show that US companies spend roughly $1 billion per year on logistical expenses. Partnering with local suppliers reduces the cost of deliveries on top of making them faster.

  • Better revenue - By reducing logistical costs and having a speedy and consistent source of your needs, you can also expect better cash flow.

This doesn’t just apply to supplies and physical resources too. For instance, if you’re seeking professional legal help, you might want to consider partnerships with nearby law firms.

II. Spoil Your Employees

Since employees are 13% more productive when happy, you might want to start working on this first.

Gorillas offered a solid package for their riders—a missing piece in most delivery services at the time. Because of that, they were able to grow their fleet despite being relatively new to the industry.

A study by Gallup revealed that employees look at a few key things in an employer.

  • Promise of increasing income/benefits - 64% of the respondents in their study noted that a significant increase in pay and benefits is “very important.” This shouldn’t be surprising as I’m sure we all are working to make ends meet. With inflation considered, offering packages that increase over time is important. They’re less likely to leave if their payslip grows as much as their time with the company.

  • Better work-life balance—This has been a growing demand for employees worldwide in the last couple of years. Per the study, 54% marked this as “very important” in 2015, and it’s up by 61% in 2022. Flexible hours, generous leaves, and a strong healthcare program help with employee acquisition and retention.

  • Job stability and security - 53% of the respondents in the study marked this as “very important.” The pandemic showed many of us how vulnerable jobs can be under harsh scenarios. Employees are more motivated in knowing that their employers have the right contingency plans when (fingers crossed) the economy falls or another pandemic happens.

The study also revealed that people would love to work in a place with better workplace inclusivity. Today’s workers want everyone, regardless of gender or race, to be treated equally inside the office.

This also means having the right programs to protect minorities working for you.

Most importantly, make sure to give your employees tasks they are passionate about or for which they’re trained.

The old adage goes, “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a single day.”

There’s not one single recipe to make employees happy. 

The best way to understand yours better is by regularly conducting workplace surveys. The more you know about them, the better the workplace environment you can provide.

III. Capitalize On Competitors’ Weaknesses 

Delivery apps were a big thing at the height of the pandemic. They’re still popular now as people see how convenient they are.

The biggest takeaway from Gorillas’ path to success was that they saw what was missing from their competitors. In their case, it was a means to solve long waiting and delivery times.

The saying, “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer,” also applies to business.

You should take the time to study your competitors well. But don’t copy what they’re doing. Find what’s missing and capitalize on that.

Remember that copying your competitors directly means you’re targeting the wrong people. It’s easy for others to recognize that you’re imitating someone.

On the other hand, if you take advantage of their current weaknesses, you’ll stand out as an improvement and not as a copycat.

Circling back to Gorillas, they found a way to significantly reduce delivery times. Their solution was fairly simple, but it was more than enough to keep people’s pantries full in a matter of minutes.

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