DoorDash launches alcohol delivery in U.S., Canada and Australia

Food delivery service DoorDash will now deliver alcohol — a move that will allow it to better compete with rivals who already offer alcohol delivery in markets where permitted, like Uber Eats, Grubhub, Shipt, Instacart, and others. Initially, DoorDash will support delivery of beer, wine, and spirits across 20 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and Canada, and Australia, reaching a potential 100 million-plus customers.

To find the feature, customers in supported markets will use the new “Alcohol” tab in the DoorDash app where they’ll be able to browse the selections of drinks offered by restaurants, or other alcohol offerings from grocery stores, local retailers, and convenience stores. In total, DoorDash’s alcohol catalog contains 30,000 SKUs — though the ones an individual user will see are only those available to their local market. The company says it will verify customer IDs prior to checkout, and again by the delivery drivers before the order is complete. The system will respect user privacy by blurring out other information on the user ID besides the photo and DOB. For those who don’t imbibe, DoorDash will also offer an opt-out that will not only exclude customers from being able to order alcohol, but from direct marketing and communications related to alcohol delivery, as well. The addition comes at a time when alcohol delivery has become one of the fastest-growing e-commerce verticals across all consumer packages goods, DoorDash notes, citing recent Nielsen data. In particular, the Covid-19 pandemic has played a role in the increased demand for online orders, as more customers stayed home under lockdowns and quarantine orders. For example, the number of off-premise buyers purchasing alcohol was up 27% year-over-year from the same time before Covid, according to data analyzed during a week in April 2020, compared with the prior year. DoorDash noted, too, how data from the National Restaurant Association found that 56% of customers over the age of 21 said they would likely order alcoholic beverages along with their food delivery orders from restaurants if permitted. DoorDash expects the expansion to include alcohol could boost restaurants’ average order values by up to 30%. Another new feature called DoubleDash will allow customers to combine two shops into one order, which can now be used for bundling alcohol with other orders. With the feature, the company is benefitting from the loosening of state laws over alcohol delivery, which were enacted due to the pandemic impacts to local businesses. Many of those temporary measures were extended as the pandemic wore on or even made into permanent laws in a number of U.S. states  “Over the past year, many cities where we operate evolved their legislation in order to permit the delivery of alcohol to residents’ homes,” said Caitlin Macnamara, Director, Alcohol Strategy & Operations at DoorDash, in a statement about the launch. “Over that time, we worked tirelessly to build a trusted alcohol ordering and delivery experience for merchants, customers, and Dashers. We’re committed to providing new earning opportunities for merchants and Dashers, a safe, high-quality experience for customers, and being a responsible leader in compliant alcohol delivery,” she added.

The expansion follows DoorDash’s forecast of a potentially weaker Q3, citing the continued uncertainty around how consumer behavior related to the pandemic may continue impact its business.  

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