Online Grocery shop Picnic to be launched in the Netherlands next week

Picnic, the new dutch grocery shop without stores, will be launched next week. The shop will be openened by Amersfoort’s mayor and Maurtis (Prince of Orange). 

Preparations for this concept silently took place over the last 3 years by a team of 30 specialists in retail, innovation and internet. The service has been tested with 150 consumers last summer who, according to co-founder Michiel Muller, have been an great input for further development of the service. Shopping takes place in an app in which people can shop until 11 pm in order to receive their groceries the next day.

Chances for the concept

So what will the chances be that  a concept like this will succeed in the Netherlands? The shop-concept has been widely discussed in the last weeks in professional  media. Some claim that ik will not work because market-entry will be too difficult in country with a high supermarket- density and many players.

Market leaders Albert-Heijn -who have been in home-delivery for over a decade- and Jumbo who exploits pick-up –points will, according to criticists, pose a too high threshold for a new player. From the 34 billion euros turned over by the industry, only half a billion 1,5% takes place online so far.  They also claim that the existence of a store is a  must-have in order to inspire people to buy and that a pure online concept will not be capable of doing so.

Others however, claim the exact opposite: The relative small part of the online segment poses big opportunities for newcomers within the segment. They point at the IDG report, that predicts online revenues to quadruple within the next five years.

New companies don’t carry the heavy weight of a distribution channel, like traditional supermarkets do. This makes them agile and independent. Picnic directly buys from an existing supermarket chain (Boni), which saves them the operational costs on that side. Not having shops saves them big time on distribution and rent, which they can use to benefit consumers:

To create goodwill with Dutch consumers: no delivery costs will be charged form the start, which is seen as important proposition. We ‘d also like to point out the success that Hellofresh has had in the Netherlands, not owning stores.  Chance is big that companies like these know their way around with data more than traditional ones, which gives them competitive advantage by predicting consumer demand more precisely.  

We are interested to see if the shop will succeed. If so, it probably cannot take long that traditional supermarkets (until now still opening stores in the Netherlands) to change their business just as other shops have been forces to do.