Mobile Commerce Daily is now Retail Dive: Mobile Commerce! Click here to learn more!

Drizly fills delivery void left by Seamless and Amazon

Adult-beverage delivery application Drizly reported an 83 percent lift in spirit sales over the Fourth of July holiday, marking a record week for the mobile lifestyle service and indicating that beer, wine and liquor retailing is ripe for the shift to an on-demand economy.

Drizly works similarly to Deliv, Uber, Seamless and Amazon, partnering with local beverage retailers to distribute goods. Drizly reported overall sales were up 30 percent via mobile ordering for the week of June 30-July 6, compared with the weekly June average. Beer sales increased week-over-week and accounted for 39 percent of purchases.

“Consumers are demanding convenience in every area of their life, and the phones we carry are becoming the tool of choice to deliver that convenience,” said Kerry McGovern, senior director of communications and media at Drizly.

“Drizly is changing the way people buy alcohol thanks to the speed, convenience, selection and price. With only a few taps of your finger, the party comes to you.”

The service currently operates in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston, but McGovern said the company plans to expand across the U.S. as its search-and-discover consumer-facing user experience has been warmly welcomed.

Delivering convenience
Drizly is the newest of a host of startups that has emerged in recent years to reinvent traditional industries by translating their services to the Web.

Consumers of legal drinking age simply download the app to their smartphone, where they can browse among 1,000-3,500 products depending on locality and supply, and pay the same price as in-store. Delivery is guaranteed within 20-40 minutes with ID’s validated using the app’s proprietary verification technology that allows drivers to scan a driver’s license.

Shortening the distance between beer brands and fans, Drizly caters to the mobile market comfortable with ordering on the go and presents a unique opportunity for small businesses without sophisticated Web skills to advertise and benefit from the data collected.

Order tracking

Over time the platform could become critical to how liquor stores manage their business, helping them identify new customers, manage loyalty programs and offer discounts and deals to compete more effectively.

The changing face of retail
Retail continues to become more complicated as it moves beyond simply stocking shelves with desirable items and waiting for shoppers to come running. Rapid advances in technology are promising to change the game and require merchants to make their products available via ecommerce alongside bricks-and-mortar to invest in a bricks-and-clicks experience for demanding consumers craving seamless shopping.

Seamless and GrubHub are the two largest online-delivery companies with over 32,000 restaurants in the U.S. and abroad, according to Bloomberg. On the largest scale they leverage online and mobile ordering as digital becomes the preferred way for consumers to place food orders. In January 2013, mobile represented 40 percent of Seamless’ orders (see story).

The duo is also bypassing the challenge of getting consumers to download a standalone mobile app to order food with a new built-in feature within the foursquare app.

Akin to restaurants, merchants in all sectors want to be where the most consumers are, and consumers will flock to the services that let them find the bulk of what they are searching for.

Niche apps like Drizly exemplify the power of this convenience. Once a consumer has created an account, entered credit-card information, and begun feeding data that can be used to provide valuable business insights and personalized content, the barriers for solely in-store liquor retailers make acquiring these consumers hard to surmount.

Similarly, Deliv, a peer-to-peer network of shoppers and delivery personnel, offers same-day local delivery service and promises tech-savvy shoppers their merchandise for the same price or less than having items shipped traditionally. The crowdsourced model allows for more driver flexibility and increased package densities from other retailers which drive down the company’s costs, and the enhanced delivery experience allows consumers to schedule deliveries during time windows when the recipient is likely to be at home.

Vigorously investing in new ways to improve customer service, mobile-first companies know firsthand the immediacy needed to turn the growing mobile traffic into a sale.

Drizly recently updated its apps to become more visually engaging, and it commands technical prowess in managing the customer journey as it plots its mobile future during a time when when consumers’ options for same-day delivery are growing via services such as eBay Now, AmazonFresh and Google Shopping Express.

“The Drizly user-experience is, in a word, easy,” Mr. McGovern said. “It’s easy to find and discover products, easy to add them to your cart, easy to pay for and easy to wait for your product to be delivered.”

Final Take
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily,  New York