Talk about a horrendous customer experience!  I have been a faithful Peapod customer for years!  Peapod got its start in Chicago, IL, in 1989, and has steadily grown it’s billion-dollar business, serving customers across the nation.  On February 14th, I sought to place my usual Saturday morning order for delivered groceries and was met with the world’s worst apology in the history of companies apologizing to faithful customers, it was a “tough decision” for them after all;

Effective February 18, 2020, Peapod closed its operations in Chicago, Milwaukee, and Indianapolis; a combined revenue source of just under 100 million of their $1.1 Billion in US revenue (Goldschmidt).

The decision came amid intense pressure and competition from the likes of Walmart, Instacart, and Amazon Fresh, just to name a few.  I admit I’d never really thought to use any of these companies.  It never occurred to me there may be a better alternative.

Now upon retrospect, I liken the closure to a case study I’d completed not long ago about the growth of Netflix and the imminent decline of Blockbuster.  The problem, similar to Blockbuster, is that Peapod failed to innovate.  I mention a few recommendations on what Peapod could have done differently to ensure a more pleasant customer experience in a post I’d written previously.

I was able to place my last order and then tried Instacart for subsequent grocery delivery – OH. MY. GOODNESS!!!  Where has Instacart been all of my life!  According to an article I read, Peapod’s weakness was they stayed Digital, while the brick and mortar grocers fought to catch up and surpass (Barker).  Case in point, Walmart.  Walmart hit the nail on the head offering customer grocery shopping options that met the needs of the customer in ways in which they wanted to do business; In-store, Delivery and Drive-up and Pick-up.  Perhaps Peapod just wanted to focus on this sweet-spot of home delivery?  I’m no CEO but, I didn’t think 10% of 1.1 billion was a bad spot in which to be.

Who’s left in the Grocery Delivery space and how can they benefit?

Now, shift to what I would do if I were Instacart, Amazon Fresh or Walmart; I would blast-promote our services to former Peapod customers in these impacted markets posthaste!  I did receive a generic sign-up bonus with Instacart but feel like there is ripe fruit of an opportunity for the picking if they craft their message accordingly. In the spectrum of cost to the consumer, I’ve ranked these services (see Figure 1).

Meal Delivery Service ranked by expense by Torri L. Fisher
Figure 1: Meal Delivery Service ranked by expense by Torri L. Fisher

Another sneaky innovation?

I literally found this new concept this week.  As I also subscribe to recipe delivery as well as meal delivery services, I was surprised and delighted at this latest fresh concept.  Ranking just between Grocery Delivery and Recipe Delivery services in expense is a partnership between eMeals* and many grocery delivery companies across the nation such as Walmart, Instacart, and Shipt.  This allows the customer to subscribe to receive fresh recipes weekly and opt to have the ingredients delivered to their home by way of a grocery delivery service or use the in-app shopping list and make the trip themselves.  Mark, my words, I think this is revolutionary and we will see more of these partnerships!

*Please note, this is an affiliate link.  I may receive small compensation upon signing up.  There is no cost to click.


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