How Microhubs Can Save Grocery Chains
Most of all, it meets customer desires for perfect orders with no stockouts, delivered free, with no markups. Ideally, they also want to get all of their groceries — local brands, national brands, and fresh meats, dairy and produce — from one place, instead of going to multiple stores each week.
Curating inventory and automating procurement are critical to success with this model. At Farmstead, we do this via AI technology, which helps us build predictive models factoring in historic purchases, broader food trends and other data points to determine what and how much to stock. These models get smarter over time, with more real purchase data behind them. Also, we automate ongoing procurement, which helps ensure steady inventory.
After two years, Farmstead rarely has stockouts, our on-time delivery rates are near 100 percent, and our food waste is less than 5 percent — most of which is donated to local charities. Our prices are the same as local supermarkets, with enough selection that customers can skip trips to three separate kinds of stores, with fast, free delivery, all the while making these orders profitable.
Traditional grocers haven't cracked this code by at least separating retail sales and delivery by building microhubs for the latter.