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First Webvan, Now Homeruns...
July 13, 2001 12:37 PM   Subscribe

First Webvan, Now Homeruns... Bugger! Das ist kaputt, ja?
posted by jennak (16 comments total)

 
With apologies to Radiohead, Kottke, and Harrumph.

Man! Now my only choice for grocery delivery is Peapod. They might fare better since they work in cooperation with local groceries.
posted by jennak at 12:41 PM on July 13, 2001


Why don't I just kill myself now?

I still have a badge on my fridge that identifies me - okay, me if I was an African-American - as "Ethan Brown, Delivery Professional."

Although, to be quite honest, this isn't the fall from grace that Kozmo.com was.

*deep long sigh, followed by that first sweet sensation of smack*
posted by solistrato at 12:44 PM on July 13, 2001


Hey, at least you have Peapod. Here in SoCal Webvan was the last hope. I just barbecued the piece of salmon I got from them on Sunday and thought how sad it was that this was the last home-delivered seafood I was likely to get for a while.

Ye gods! I may actually have to go out and interact with humans! Which is another interesting topic: why are grocery stores full of freaks? Sure I may nibble a bit of bin food every now and then, but I don't go around yelling at family-size bags of Tater Tots like some of the whack jobs I see at Vons and Ralphs. Well, not very often anyway. I just want people to leave me alone in the grocery store. Just because we're both buying Romaine lettuce doesn't mean we should be pals for life.

misanthropically

k
posted by Kafkaesque at 12:53 PM on July 13, 2001


I live across from the "Social Safeway." It was the first grocery store with the concept of "grocery dating." They used to have mood lighting, special nights, dating bulletin boards, etc... There's no more mood lighting or dating boards, but the cute, single people still shop from 8:30 - 10:00 on weeknights out of habit.
posted by jennak at 1:01 PM on July 13, 2001


I looked briefly for a link, but couldn't find it...

I heard yesterday that the founder of HomeGrocer wants to give it another go. He's looking for minimal funding. HG was close to being profitable before Webvan took over and went too much too soon. I'd really like to see this happen. The market is there, it just needs someone to ease into it wisely.
posted by frykitty at 1:07 PM on July 13, 2001


in seattle, albertson's online orders are up 300% since webvan shuttered.
posted by rebeccablood at 1:18 PM on July 13, 2001


D'you suppose I could get one of those Alby's vans to drive to Portland? It's only a few hours.
posted by frykitty at 1:37 PM on July 13, 2001


Simon Delivers seems to be doing pretty well in the Twin Cities. No stupid IPOs here, just private ownership and steady growth into the suburbs.
posted by mrbula at 2:07 PM on July 13, 2001


You know, all of you Seattle/Chicago/SF/DC kiddies can whine and bemoan your online delivery services, but realise that most of us never had them to start with. No Kozmo, no Webvan, no Homeruns, no nothing.

Where I am, the dominant (80% of market share) grocery chain hasn't even begun to contemplate anything more innovative than a frickin' frequent customer "advantage card" program. Meanwhile, despite our region's heavy saturation of "wired" residents & residences, we are still lagging far, far behind when it comes to web-based services. Surveys and studies show that an incredible number of people would take advantage of companies like Kozmo and Webvan if they were available to us, but the companies stayed away and then, shut down.

It would be nice to see what a similar company could do if it chose to do a little research and operate in the best cities for its business plan (i.e. most receptive) instead of just the biggest.
posted by Dreama at 2:18 PM on July 13, 2001


Actually, Dreama, some pundit or analyst or other said of Kozmo that the only U.S. city where it could really work was New York, where things are close enough together and such to make it fast/affordable enough for the company to do their deliveries and have it make sense from a profit perspective.

You seem to be implying that Kozmo, Webvan, and HomeRuns died because we "Seattle/Chicago/SF/DC kiddies" didn't appreciate it enough and therefore we should get over our disappointment. Or something. I'm sorry your area never had any of these things---if it were up to me the entire civilized world would have online delivery of everything---but I don't know that sour-grapes accusations of "whining" are necessarily called for here.

</bristle>
posted by Sapphireblue at 2:41 PM on July 13, 2001


Online grocery delivery can work if it is closely associated with a brick-and-mortar grocery store chain and can provide a reasonably wide selection of goods. It's surprising to see HomeRuns die, as they seemed to be doing quite well in Boston, despite the fact that their selection was somewhat limited.

I believe one day grocery delivery will be the norm, rather than a gimmick or a luxury, but that is probably several years away.
posted by ljromanoff at 2:59 PM on July 13, 2001


Hear, hear, Dreama! I live in a city that bills itself as the "Eighth-Largest US City!" (when in fact it is more like the 41st largest, but still...it's large) and we don't have anything like WebVan, Kozmo, etc. God, if only we had had the chance to try it. GLADLY would I have paid a hefty surcharge for home delivery of groceries. Or delivery of ANY kind of food besides pizza!
posted by davidmsc at 3:40 PM on July 13, 2001


ljr: I believe one day grocery delivery will be the norm, rather than a gimmick or a luxury, but that is probably several years away.

it used to *be* the norm. I think that then women learned en masse to drive, and more and more people got seecond cars.
posted by rebeccablood at 3:54 PM on July 13, 2001


it used to *be* the norm. I think that then women learned en masse to drive, and more and more people got second cars.

...and that the arrival of large-scale domestic refrigeration allowed the daily trip to the shops to be replaced by a weekly stockpiling. Which is fine if you're making deliveries in a van, but in my parents' childhood, it was generally a young boy with a bike and a basket.

Local delivery still flourishes in British villages, but that's mainly to do with the nature of village life; interestingly, though, it's precisely the opposite of the high-density urban demographic that WebVan, Kozmo and UrbanFetch relied upon.

(There was a scheme floated a few years back to use Underground and rail stations as delivery/collection points for groceries. It's something which isn't infeasible, and makes the most of the quirks of the capital.)
posted by holgate at 4:22 PM on July 13, 2001


You seem to be implying that Kozmo, Webvan, and HomeRuns died because we "Seattle/Chicago/SF/DC kiddies" didn't appreciate it enough and therefore we should get over our disappointment.

I said nothing about appreciation. I've yet to find the company that goes under due to lack of appreciation. Lack of customers, yes. Lack of market share, yes. Lack of advertising to target markets, yes. Lack of structured growth plans based upon a conservative, yet visionary point of view, yes.

Lack of appreciation? Probably not.
posted by Dreama at 2:19 PM on July 14, 2001


More to the point: lack of profit, yes. Lack of hope of ever turning a profit, yes.
posted by kindall at 8:58 PM on July 14, 2001


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