As the big retailers continue their battle for online business, wooing digital shoppers with huge ranges, instant delivery and 24/7 customer service, there’s irony in the fact that the original one-stop shop is being left behind.
The humble convenience store has, until now, stood quietly by while mopeds whizz by their windows, delivering everything from ready meals to Diet Coke by the individual can. But a new mobile website is offering these loved-but-left-behind icons a slice of the online action as London’s first 24/7 delivery service dedicated to independent corner shops and newsagents.
Alchemy Wings is a mobile website offering all your corner shop stalwarts – drinks, snacks, six-packs – delivered within the hour any time day or night.
The Shoreditch-based start-up launched last year, but has already received the backing of Coca Cola, Mars, Heineken and Treasury Wines, with around 50 independent stores signed up across Zones 1 and 2.
Founder Sam Martin said the service is unique in that it encourages shoppers to support their local businesses, while maintaining transparency and competitive pricing.
He pointed to a 2015 report from the Association of Convenience Stores that found of the £188.5billion annual UK grocery sales, an estimated £1 of every £5 is spent in convenience stores. “Corner shops are run by local heros – they’re working every hour imaginable so that if I want a Kit-Kat and a bottle of Merlot at 3am I can have it,” he said.
Sam hopes Alchemy Wings will also help address poor conversion rates of alcohol sales within the sector. More than 70% of people who shop at convenience stores say they consume alcohol, but just 20% actually buy it from their local off-license, according to the consumer research consultancy firm Him!
Sam explained that by improving transparency, Alchemy Wings will help reduce misaligned pricing and operator mistrust, eliminating some of the more conventional barriers to purchase.
The service also offers independents access to consumer insights on a local level, data previously only available to larger retailers. “They deserve the right to take on the big supermarkets on their own terms – and they’re going to win,” Sam concluded.