retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Delivery company DoorDash has announced the launch of DashMart, which it describes as "a new type of convenience store, offering both household essentials and local restaurant favorites to our customers’ doorsteps," often in 30 minutes.

The company's bog says that "on DashMart, you’ll find thousands of convenience, grocery, and restaurant items, from ice cream and chips, to cough medicine and dog food, to spice rubs and packaged desserts from the local restaurants you love on DoorDash. DashMart stores are owned, operated, and curated by DoorDash."

DashMart is available in eight cities at the moment:  Chicago; Minneapolis; Dallas; Salt Lake City; the greater Phoenix area; Redwood City, California; and Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio.  The company says that "over the coming months, we’ll be launching in many more cities across the country including San Diego, Baltimore, Denver, Sacramento, and Concord, CA.

CNBC writes that "the channel marks the first time the SoftBank-backed unicorn is expanding its infrastructure to include distribution centers, which will carry household essentials, ready-made meals, and restaurant retail items like specialty spices or sauces. Each DashMart location will carry roughly 2,000 items … The undertaking appears to challenge online marketplaces like Instacart and Amazon, and more traditional brick-and-mortar retailers like Walmart and Target."

KC's View:

If I am reading this right, DashMart also potentially puts DoorDash directly in competition with convenience stores - which is sort of ironic since, as TechCrunch notes, "the move into the virtual storefront comes a few months after DoorDash partnered with more than 1,800 convenience stores throughout the country to better respond to the needs of customers during the COVID-19 pandemic."

If this is an accurate reading of the stories and DoorDash's own blog, then I am wondering how those c-store companies may be feeling about this.  (Maybe the way that Instacart's retail clients should be feeling about that company's ability to weaponize their data and compete directly against them?)

DoorDash isn't just serving as a delivery service here.  It is creating its own online marketplace, cutting out the retail middleman in some cases, and competing against the very clients it has been servicing.  It is like the c-store version of a ghost kitchen.

One wonders if there will be a backlash.  And if there isn't, one wonders, why the hell not?