Wine Delivered to Your Door: Minibar Delivery

Minibar Lifestyle
After the interview with Hello Vino, the second wine startup we interviewed is the NYC-based Minibar Delivery. We reached out to one of the co-founders, Lara Crystal. She founded the company in 2013 with Lindsey Andrews, a classmate at Wharton Business School. Both new to wine, they had the idea behind Minibar Delivery during one of their brainstorming sessions on new business models.
The complementary skills of the two founders helped the company get shaped: Lara has a background in luxury products and Lindsey in e-commerce.

The Product

Users can download the app both on iOS and Android devices, order wine, spirits, and beer and get it delivered home in 30-60 minutes (depending on the city, the neighborhood, and the traffic). This is it. Pretty simple and straightforward. It aims to remove the hassle of going out to buy a single item when you run out of drinks. However, as you might imagine, running the operations of this company is anything but simple.

After a $1.8M seed round in July 2014, the company has now 12 employees and has been growing quickly to deliver in 17 cities now.
Minibar Delivery Cities
The fascinating category they were working on motivated the two founders: their value proposition is providing a better shopping experience for a need that is immediate, usually within 48 hours.
The customer base is on average 30 years old, equally male and female. The top-selling product category is wine, which makes about 60% of the orders.

After starting the business, they also realized through customer feedbacks that there is a strong need of this delivery service for event planning.
Sometimes they even provide bartenders for private and corporate events through Event Planner, a micro-consulting service currently in beta.
Event Planner Beta Version
As you can see in the screenshot above, you only have to provide basic information about the event, such as duration, number of guests, time of the day,  and product category you want to serve. After filling the form, you get in touch with Minibar Delivery and agree on the details.

The Challenge

I asked Lara which are the main challenges for the company and she made two very good points: one is the industry regulation and the other one is matching supply and demand.
As for every platform, it’s not only about attracting new customers, but it’s also about finding partner retailers that can provide the customer experience that Minibar Delivery wants.
The partners are in charge of the delivery, a key component of this business model because it’s the main contact with the customer. There are both large and small retailers that join the program and all of them have to be able to fulfill the delivery requirements (geographic area, delivery time, customer service).

The real value of this service is providing a smooth experience in an industry that has been rejecting innovation for a long time.

Lara’s favorite wine is Champagne. What’s yours?

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