Can consumer demand for ultra-convenience bring back door-to-door sales?

Today, our cherished Volley member Nurit Gaon (France) has told us excitedly how an unexpected visit from Bofrost saved her family’s dinner. To those unaware of the phenomenon, Bofrost is a frozen food company, founded in 1987, whose business model is focused on door-to-door sales in Europe.

(source: Bofrost Italia)

The company’s salesman offered Nurit high-quality frozen products, ready-to-heat and enjoy. She bought them immediately.

(photos: Nurit Gaon)

Nurit’s story made me think: does the infamous, old tactic of door to door sales – a way to bring the store to you, instead of bringing you to the store (no matter if physically or digitally) – stand to make a comeback? If consumers are already increasingly opting for subscriptions, surprise boxes and meal kits (Slice, 2016; eMarketer, 2017), wouldn’t they be thrilled to have a grocery paying them an evening visit?

At a keynote lecture I gave on the growth of digital grocery, I had demonstrated how digital de-facto brought back the milkman, which was perceived as a dead industry for over 60 years. Indeed, digital makes familiar business models more efficient, but before the car and the refrigerator, the route to consumers’ homes was actually one of extreme convenience for consumers.

Of course, digital technology perfects this model. “Big Data” can be utilized to predict future shopping needs for consumers (remember Amazon’s patent from 2013?), an app can provide an “interested/ not interested” signal by consumers at a specific evening, which i turn will enable companies to plan their route, etc.. After all, if or Amazon Fresh know that my kids tend to finish their Frosted Flakes every Wednesday evening, resulting in a frantic next-morning order by their too-busy mom, why shouldn’t they pop by my house with cereal, milk and perhaps other items I tend to order with those?

Who knows – maybe Amazon’s Treasure Truck is really an early experiment aimed at grocery shopping trucks, or a modern day door to door operation?


 I’d love to hear what you think about it: would you open the door to your supermarket? Would you rather buy that way, instead of on-demand delivery?

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