How EasyCoop became an innovative and advanced eCommerce service
Coop Alleanza 3.0, the largest consumer cooperative in Italy, in 2016. launched EasyCoop, its online shopping service. With dedicated dark stores and a revolutionary delivery service guaranteed by Milkman Home-Delivery Platform, EasyCoop came up to be a new innovative channel. The project debuted in the cities of Rome, Padua and Bologna with an initial investment of €50M, and it is now active in the most populated areas of Central and North-Eastern Italy.
In-shop, Personal Shopper or Dark Stores?
When building a large-scale grocery distribution operation, there is a key decision to make regarding the fulfilment model:
- Fulfilment at the retail location
- Personal shopper
- Dark Stores
Marco Di Falco, Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer EasyCoop, explains:
“Fulfillment from the physical store doesn’t require many extra investments to start with but the operational costs are much higher because picking is structurally slower in a place conceived for selling, and hourly cost is typically higher if you use in-store personnel. The number of orders that you can prepare in a physical store is minimal, which limits your ability to optimize the delivery routes. On the other hand, the personal shopper model is the easiest and quickest one to implement but in my opinion offers the worst service. Combined with the gig-economy ethical implications and potential regulatory challenges, we didn’t find this model attractive at all. Thinking about driving growth for our online business and keeping high-level quality, the dark-store model was the approach with the best long-term economic potential.“
Reactivity, Predictability & Reliability at the Minimum Cost
Excellence, flexibility and customization have been set as primary goals since the beginning. Mr. Di Falco explains: “Not long after launching the service, we decided to change our tagline from – ‘Easy Convenient at Home’ – to – ‘EasyCoop EasyLife’ – as we wanted to convey a more direct message about the broader value that our service was meant to unlock. And a crucial piece of what EasyLife stands for is that, thanks to Milkman Home-Delivery Platform, it precisely allows customers to personalize the delivery slot and balance convenience and cost for each and every order. Milkman Home -Delivery Platform is enabling a wide range of delivery dates and time-window width options, but equally important offered real-time visibility on the expected time-of-arrival.
Many of our customers complete their orders, typically with lots of stuff, over multiple days, looking for predictability more than ultra-fast delivery.”
Equally important was the impact on cost, as Mr. Di Falco illustrates: “Enabling our customers to choose from a wide range of flexible delivery windows and most convenient shipping fee, was crucial for our operations team to better align and plan logistics and routing”
The EasyCoop online grocery business journey was not just about making the right strategic
decisions; it was more about testing, learning, and positioning the organization on a continuous improvement path.
“When you set up this sort of operation, there is a real competitive advantage that you build over time. Mastering details is the rule of the game: shopping experience, product availability and quality, on-time delivery are all equally important to customers. Thanks to obsessive measurement and relentless focus on excellence, we are still improving so much daily, and that is making the difference“.
The grocery-delivery sector is undergoing an epochal revolution, from which there’s no turning back. By investing early in a wide set of innovative resources, EasyCoop, together with Milkman Technologies, is now successfully positioned ahead of the competition, becoming one of Europe’s most advanced eGrocery players.