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Economy / Business

Grocery Delivery Service Comes to Tampa

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Even when picking up "just a few items," between the drive, parking and checking out, grocery shopping can be a tedious and time-consuming effort. Seeing the need, Bill Smith created Shipt.

Shipt is based in Birmingham, Ala., and recently made its Florida debut with a celebration in Tampa. Shipt users download the Shipt application onto their smartphones or tablets. Using their marketplace, customers select their items and pay for the items from the app.

Then "Shipt Shoppers," prepaid card in hand, head to the nearest Publix supermarket to pick up the groceries and deliver them.

So, who will actually use Shipt?

Smith says that while Shipt is for everyone, he primarily sees it used by mothers who just do not have the time or energy to wrangle their children into the grocery store. Close behind in usage are millennials who are accustomed to online shopping and those caring for the elderly.

Shipt isn't just for the home. "We also have offices that use us a lot to stock their break room," Smith says. "Companies really like the ability to have some fresh food options in their break room, so they're ordering bananas and fruit, all kinds of stuff from us. They don't have to worry about sending their employees out."

Smith realizes that not everyone will be keen on having strangers pick their poultry and produce. Shipt shoppers go through a comprehensive process before being selected, and Smith also says there is a rating system that allows customers to share feedback.

Customers can also communicate directly with their shopper through the app, so shoppers can fly by the deli and bakery for specialty items with ease.

"When anybody orders groceries from us, they’re expecting to have someone that’s knowledgeable about how to pick the right produce, and the right meat, and the correct items," he says. "There’s a happy person that they can trust to deliver the groceries to their home."

There are fees associated with using Shipt, and vary on the use and the plan of the user. Shipt's expansion in Florida continues, with operations beginning in the Miami and Orlando areas in the next two to four weeks.

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