When plant-based nugget maker Simulate launched its new line of vegan chicken fillets in early May, the company decided to try a new marketing strategy: launching the product exclusively on the Getir fast-delivery app before other channels.
The product launch, which promoted tenders for a discounted price of $4.99 along with free shipping, was a quick way for Simulate to distribute in the New York area. Andrew Watts, community manager at Simulate, said the company is still in the process of securing storage space to market tenders with its original nuggets. “So we decided to take on Getir and get feedback from our biggest fans in New York and Boston,” Watts said.
In effect, fast delivery apps have quickly become the hottest new distribution channel for startups. Brands like Recess, Swoon, and Cloud Paper have all launched on various platforms this year, including Gopuff, Gorillas, and the now-defunct Fridge No More. These companies cited several factors that drove them to sell through 15-minute delivery apps: instant sales and the ability to micro-fulfill orders in major cities, to name two. Now, these delivery apps are trying to appeal to more brands as a creative marketing channel through which they can launch new products and services.
For perishable food brands, instant delivery is particularly appealing. Direct-to-consumer sales are expensive for frozen foods and, from the outset, Simulate’s strategy was to sell through retail chains and local grocery stores. Simulate is in the process of bidding at 100-200 Target sites, but used the Getir collaboration to generate buzz.
“We also worked with a few influencers in New York and Boston to promote ourselves on Getir, which helped with conversion,” Watts said. According to Watts, Simulate sold 800 units during the exclusive launch window – which lasted two weeks – and “saw over 350% continuous product improvement after our first activation with Getir”.
This isn’t the first time that Simulate has used grocery delivery apps as a marketing tool. Previously, Simulate tested a similar activation with the fast delivery app Jokr. In February, Simulate released a limited prototype of its wings, a plant-based boneless buffalo chicken wing, through its DTC channel. “We partnered with Jokr to get the product into the hands of users 15 minutes after our product announcement,” Watts said. The stunt, he said, generated excitement and user-generated content from attendees. Watts said Jokr helped execute the concept by providing “additional support on consumer touchpoints like in-app signage and social media,” Watts said.
This collaboration has led to Simulate continuing to work with instant delivery apps on new product launches. The activation also generated traffic to Getir. The promotional period of the new tenders resulted in all Simulate products accounting for 23% of sales in Getir’s Quick Meals category, which currently has over 60 SKUs.
Another young brand using instant delivery to launch their latest service is Sneaker startup DTC Thousand Fell. It launched a textile recycling platform called SuperCircle this month and has teamed up with Gorillas to test it in New York.
Gorillas users can add a $0.01 Thousand Fell recycling bag to their cart. Once the courier arrives, users can put the clothes they want to recycle into the bag which the Gorillas courier picks up and returns to SuperCircle. Through the Gorillas activation, the company has so far collected over 1,000 pounds of clothing for recycling.
Stuart Ahlum, co-founder of Thousand Fell & SuperCircle, said “We found that the majority of people want to recycle their used clothes and sneakers when they have the opportunity.” This is why the brand decided to test delivery in 15 minutes to launch the promotion of the new recycling platform.
“Gorillas was the perfect partner to help us design and execute a solution for the biggest hurdle consumers face when considering recycling.” The Thousand Fell gorilla-filled pickup also gives customers credit on their next purchase, which Ahlum says has been a big incentive for recycling.
He noted that these types of activations are a way for Thousand Fell to expand its sustainability efforts. “Our community in Thousand Fell has been asking for something like this for some time, so we’re excited to offer customers the ability to easily recycle with this partnership,” Ahlum said.
Andrew Lipsman, principal analyst at Insider Intelligence, said that for brands, these campaigns are easy to experiment with and run on instant delivery apps. “There are no inflated expectations,” Lipsman said. He noted that the exclusive campaigns are an extension of the product sampling that startups started doing on fast delivery platforms earlier this year.
Lipsman also expects the likes of Gopuff and Jokr to compete for customer acquisition, advertising will be one of the fastest ways to become profitable (if, that is, they become one day profitable). “For services, these collaborations are a way to try to increase traffic by offering more interesting assortments,” Lipsman said. Indeed, apps like Getir and Gorillas have honed their marketing to focus on select assortments over the past few months. For example, Gorillas launched a Black History Month talk show featuring black-founded food brands, such as Pipcorn’s Jen Martin and Partake’s Denise Woodard.
The fast delivery category is maturing, with consolidations still shaking. For emerging brands, platforms currently offer an instant marketing and sales channel, Lipsman said.
Indeed, experimenting with new ways to make products more accessible to users is the “top priority” for Simulate, Watts confirmed.
“We’ve worked with nearly every 15-minute delivery platform in various capacities — from product deliveries to physical inserts into bags,” Watts said. “We are excited to continue exploring this emerging sector.”