With a proposition that clearly differentiates itself from both flash deliverers and traditional online supermarkets, Rohlik aims to be a disruptor in European food retail, says founder and CEO Tomáš Čupr.
Conquering Germany first
One of the most notable players in the European online grocery sector is Czech Rohlik, founded in 2014 and now operating in a dozen cities in the Austria, Czechia, Germany, Hungary and Romania. Its planned expansion into Spain and Italy was postponed due to the difficult economic situation, the company still aims to operate in thirty European cities but by 2030.
Rather surprisingly, Rohlik has chosen to enter each market under a different name: Gurkerl.at, Rohlik.cz, Knuspr.de, Kifli.hu and Sezamo.ro respectively. Top priority is on Germany, as it is a huge market: Knuspr is already the market leader in Munich and Frankfurt. It recently took over Berlin delivery service Bringmeister from Edeka. Hamburg and possibly another German city will follow in the coming year.
In an interview with the website Sifted.eu, Čupr calls ‘his’ Rohlik a combination of Tesco, Whole Foods Market, the local butcher, the baker, a fancy coffee shop, a pharmacy and a toy shop: “We are not serving one shopping mission like a supermarket, we are serving five or six,” he says. “And we are profitable.” The online supermarket also maintains competitive prices.
Čupr is not surprised that most quick commerce players are struggling: “There is no economics in it, also there is no loyalty. In that small dark store, you cannot create an assortment proposition that customers will love.” Rohlik is different: the retailer does have a complete range for weekly shopping, from dry food over local delicacies to household products, toiletries, pet food and more. 17,000 items in total, compared to flash delivery companies’ 1,500 to 4,000.
Orders may not be delivered within ten minutes, but if necessary they are delivered within the hour, thanks to an efficient logistics system. Delivery is made from automated distribution centres for which the company has developed its own software. The robots work three times faster than humans could.