Is Justin the king maker?

Antony Begley

The meteoric rise of Dundee-based home delivery platform Snappy Shopper over the last year or so is nothing short of remarkable and the latest development surely marks a tipping point for the business that was nothing more than a novel, apparently quirky idea just a few short years ago.

The fact that former Sainsbury’s CEO Justin King fancies the business enough to plough a chunk of his cash and a lot of his time into it speaks volumes about how far the company has come in such a short space of time. Not bad going for a company started by a lawyer with a good idea, too much energy and boundless conviction.

I have very fond memories of taking a call from Snappy Shopper co-founder Scott Campbell back in maybe 2017 or 2018. I had never heard of him at the time, nor Snappy Shopper, but recall vividly that he was very animated about the idea and he was keen to get a speaking slot at one of our #ThinkSmart retail tech events to share the concept with retailers.

I distinctly remember it taking me a little time to even understand the concept and wondering why shoppers would want a convenience store to deliver products to their homes. Surely the point of convenience stores was that they were already convenient? But Scott seemed utterly sure that it was the future. I, on the other hand, was less convinced.

At any rate, we offered him a slot to speak and, as far as I’m aware, it was the first time anyone from Snappy Shopper had ever spoken in public. Fast forward a few years and a coronavirus pandemic later, and the former Sainsbury’s head honcho wants a big piece of the action. The company is now valued at somewhere between £50m and £65m. It appears that Scott was absolutely right.

Home delivery is indeed the future. But while King’s money may be welcome, it’s his retail experience and contacts that will prove most beneficial. Doors that have been hard to open in the past will, undoubtedly, fly off their hinges these days. King is, by all accounts, a very astute businessman and what he will be able to bring the company is almost beyond measure.

The home delivery sector still has an element of the wild west about it at the moment, but it’s beginning to look like the major players are emerging and jostling for position. Snappy Shopper’s latest coup should ensure that it will more than retain its place at the top table.

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Antony Begley, Publishing Director