Dr Retail 11.03.21
Upmarket convenience store chain Foxtrot combines a neighbourhood store with an on-demand app that lets local customers get delivery in under an hour. The company currently has 10 stores across Chicago and Texas. Sales doubled for the retailer in 2020 and with $42 million in series B funding, Foxtrot plans to expand quickly.
Whilst not the most exciting fixture in our lives, convenience stores have seen increasing importance in our pandemic-struck communities, as a place to buy essential groceries without travelling far. Their location right in the heart of neighbourhoods has made them even more important. At the same time, on-demand delivery has gained pace, with the likes of Deliveroo offering rapid delivery from a variety of popular food retailers.
So why would British consumers need anything more than a Tesco Express, a Sainsbury’s Local or Morrisons Daily?
From its small store footprint, Foxtrot stocks a carefully curated and highly localised product range. This means products from more independent, organic and artisan-owned brands compared to the FMCG superbrands you’d normally find in a regular convenience store. Foxtrot markets also act as a space to grab a coffee or something to eat, with a selection of chef-created food-to-go products.
From it’s upmarket product range to a beautiful yet simplistic retail interior, the brand appears to be perfectly balancing the convenience of being a physical retail store and offering the flexibility of one-hour deliveries that are fulfilled directly from each store. Add to that an in-store coffee shop that doubles as a space to eat food to go products. According to Foxtrot, they wanted to create a new type of experience that caters to a more discerning shopper; one that is seeking more than just a functional, basic transaction.
From a strategic point of view, the company are using the physical stores as a customer acquisition channel for their app based delivery offering. Customers can opt to pay in-store and online via a dedicated app, that gives shoppers access to ‘perks’ that include free delivery, free filter coffee and a free gift wrapping service once you hit a $100 threshold.
What does Valley think?
US based Foxtrot has clearly found a niche, focusing on the growing demand for high-quality products and the growing sophistication of the food consumer. We’ve seen how consumers are increasingly turning to independent, founder-led brands that offer better-for-you options, more sustainability or the ability to support an independent producer. You only have to look at the trend towards gourmet breads and sourdough that has seriously taken off in the UK. Foxtrot has clearly challenged the notion of convenience – and that just because a store offers products locally, it doesn’t mean those shouldn’t be the very best and most on-trend that money can buy.
The challenge for bringing a concept like Foxtrot to the UK could be the price sensitivity of shoppers. In parts of the UK, some already have access to small food halls from the likes of Waitrose and M&S, who have an incredible food offer. Foxtrot it would seem attempts to take this to the next level. There are certainly neighbourhoods where they could succeed in the UK – and here at Valley, we’d certainly welcome this type of concept that brings footfall back to local high streets, supports local artisans and producers and offers shoppers a super-local place to meet and take coffee.