Fast food delivery startups like Gethir, Gopaf and Gorillas, once heralded as the next big thing in on-demand ordering, face logistical challenges that may be insurmountable. However, faced with competition and extremely high operating costs, they are taking every possible step to stay. As an example, Gopuff today released features aimed at removing some of the platform’s biggest pain points, such as the inability to schedule orders in advance or pick up orders from nearby warehouses.
Starting today, Gopuff customers can place an order when the Gopuff marketplace closes—exact hours depend on the marketplace—so that Gopuff can deliver the order as soon as it reopens. (Needless to say, this does not apply to locations where Gopuff delivers 24/7.) Alternatively, customers can schedule an order in advance for a specific date and time, similar to most major food delivery apps, or arrange order to be picked up where Gopuff offers retail and in-store shopping.
The in-store shopping experience remains quite limited. According to Gopuff, only in BevMo! outlets — remember that Gopuff has acquired BevMo!, an alcohol retailer, for $350 million in 2020 — and the New York locations are an in-store shopping option. Strictly online pickup will be available at “many” locations, however, Gopuff says (it’s not clear exactly how many), with hours mirroring those of in-app ordering.
Gopuff is also introducing gifts, which will allow customers to add gifts to their cart for recipients both on and off the platform. After entering the recipient’s address, name and phone number and a gift message, both the gift recipient and the sender will receive a text message confirming that a gift order is being prepared. The recipient will also receive SMS notifications when the order is close, delivered or cancelled.
Somewhat worryingly, Gopuff did not respond to TechCrunch’s question about whether information about gift recipients would be retained for marketing or other purposes. Gopuff, like many app-based products and services, collects a wide range of personal information that it reserves the right to use to target advertisements and promote its subscription services, and to share with third parties, including business partners and “affiliates and subsidiaries”.
The new features are only available through the latest Gopuff app (version 8.1.0), the company notes, which began rolling out nationwide this morning. Although Gopuff has partnerships with Uber and Just Eat Takeaway to make its inventory available for browsing through Uber Eats and Grubhub, respectively, the company says customers using those platforms won’t be able to take advantage of order planning, gifting and pickup—despite the fact that Uber Eats and Grubhub support these features for most other businesses.
Gopuff has had it rough lately, no pun intended. Original intending to IPO immediately thereafter in mid-2022 a pat former Disney CEO Bob Iger as an advisor and investor, Gopuff this summer pulled out of Spain, one of its markets, to cut costs and cut 10% of its global workforce. Further on cuts hit Gopuff in October – mainly affecting various customer service departments – as a launch it is reported wanted to provide a line of credit of up to $300 million to deal with inflationary headwinds.