Deliveroo’s Entry into Retail: Transforming on-demand shopping


December 25, 2023 | By RetailME Bureau

Deliveroo has taken a new move and recently started ‘Deliveroo Shopping’. In conversation with Anis Harb, GM Deliveroo Middle East to discuss more on the business plans and what’s in store for customers.

Tell us a little about this new venture and how you are eyeing this category expansion to benefit you and gain more customers.

With ‘Deliveroo Shopping,’ we’re taking a big step forward in Deliveroo’s growth, offering customers even more of what they want for various occasions. We’re giving customers the same on-demand convenience they’re used to, but now across a wider range of items from categories including Electronics, Health & Pharmacies, Flowers, Pet Essentials, Gifts, Toys & Games, and Beauty. 

Our new venture is a natural extension of our success in food and groceries delivery.  In the past 8 years, we have developed a playbook and built a brilliant team that knows how to scale businesses quickly and effectively.  All that knowledge and experience gives us the conviction and confidence that Deliveroo Shopping will be a success.  Consumer demand for shopping convenience is evident in search trends and grocery purchases from our existing selection of grocery partners. According to Wunderman Thompson ‘The Future Shopper Report, 2023’, the number one thing global consumers would change about online shopping is faster delivery! So, our new proposition is aimed at meeting consumer demand and providing them with what they’ve been searching for on our platform. 

Tell us more about the new partners you have onboarded to launch Deliveroo Shopping. 

We’re excited about the range of partners onboarded for the launch of Deliveroo Shopping, and there are even more joining our platform soon. We’re proud to have launched our new proposition with large brands such as Early Learning Center, Geekay, and Tavola. Geekay, one of the largest gaming retailers in the Middle East, will bring a plethora of entertainment and gaming products to the Deliveroo platform. Tavola is the ultimate destination for premium kitchen essentials, offering a comprehensive range of high-quality cookware and tableware from over 100 renowned brands, making it the ultimate choice for a gifting solution. ELC has been one of the leading toy stores in the UAE for over 30 years offering a diverse selection of edutainment products aimed at fostering the development and learning of young children. We have also partnered with local favourites like Eggs & Soldiers, Joi Gifts, and My Backyard Chronicles with the opportunity to onboard even more partners. 


How do you access the market and its challenges or competition given there are already established names popularly doing what you are now planning to do?

Our strategic entry is timely, aligning with Deliveroo’s consumer signals indicating a growing demand for non-food offerings. There is a clear consumer appetite for on-demand shopping, and we are positioned well to capitalise on the opportunity. The sector is still in its early stages, and what will set us apart is our comprehensive approach, encompassing offering consumers diverse categories of local and international retailers along with our focus on efficiency, quality, reliability, user-friendly experience and providing value for our partners, customers, and riders. 

We also introduced an innovative gifting functionality which is unique and emphasises convenience and allows customers to select whatever they want to gift someone and mark this as a ‘gift’ at checkout and send receivers a trackable link to their order with an animated greeting card.


When it comes to hooking the customer to your offerings, do you want to put out some offers and promotions initially to keep the buzz going?

85% of Deliveroo customers said ‘Value for Money’ was important when choosing which restaurant to order from; and we believe this is equally important in shopping for non-food items. Therefore, we launched our new shopping offering with a 30% discount to customers and we will consistently launch campaigns to spotlight our diverse offerings and services and provide value to consumers. Individual brands have the flexibility to introduce tailored promotions and offers according to their brand strategies. We also empower partners to advertise effectively across diverse channels, including digital and non-digital environments, on and off the Deliveroo platform and we provide them with real-time digital analytics, e-commerce insights, and a unique range of digital media opportunities throughout the marketing funnel.

How have you tied up the backend seamlessly, any tech implementations that you want to talk about to highlight the operational ease?

Our backend integration seamlessly aligns with the current shopping demand, supported by strong technology and fleet optimisation. Drawing from our successful grocery playbook, we’ve adapted existing technology to ensure scalability and operational efficiency in this new venture. Our optimised tech offering positions us to handle the complexities of on-demand shopping seamlessly. Additionally, our machine-learning-based search and discovery functionality enhances the customer experience, offering a curated selection of gifting options for occasions like birthdays, saving time and adding a personalised touch to the shopping journey. 


What are your market expectations and how much do you see your customer base growing in the first quarter of the next year given this diversification?

Our market expectations are high as customers express a growing desire for diverse offerings beyond food. Analysing search data revealed significant interest in grocery items, as well as non-food items like toys, pet items, gifts, and flowers. This insight solidifies our belief that Deliveroo, initially a food delivery service, can evolve into a versatile and convenient platform spanning a wide array of categories. 


With the New Year knocking at the door, what are the new plans in the pipeline? Give us a peek into it.

As we approach the New Year, Deliveroo Shopping takes centre stage in our strategic growth journey, aligning with our mission to transform the way people shop and eat, bringing the neighbourhood to their door by connecting consumers, restaurants, shops and riders. Our paramount focus is partnering with diverse retailers to ensure operational excellence and a seamless experience for both partners and customers. Simultaneously, our growth trajectory extends into 2024, with a key focus on expanding throughout the UAE. Our business has doubled in the past two years in the UAE, and we expect growth to continue into 2024. We currently have around 13,000 partners in the UAE and we’re committed to growing this number across food and shopping categories to provide consumers with a wider selection on Deliveroo.  And our steadfast focus remains on delivering a seamless, efficient, reliable, and user-friendly experience for our valued partners, customers, and riders. 

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