Opinion: Qcommerce as a social enterprise

Hello all,

Idea that I am kicking around, testing it here before potentially turning this into a linkedin post. Very much seeking your feedback and critique.

Concept: Grocery Qcommerce set up as a social enterprise

  • Overlapped with/sharing stock and physical location with a food bank (UK model: food banks only available to people who get an official referral). Varying pricing tiers between free and commercial based on customer means (food bank referrals get free delivery once/twice a week up to a value, limited categories)
  • Operated as a consumer co-op. Member payment/monthly labour commitment in return for reduced prices or a profit dividend (the CoOp movement in the UK traditionally gave members a “divi” based on their spend, historically tracked using savings stamps issued at checkout often saved for the winter holidays; nowadays this is effectively a electronic loyalty scheme with a reduced payout)
  • Home deliveries performed using a mix of paid staff, volunteers (co-op members who make a labour commitment ) and homeless (using the “Big Issue” magazine distribution approach for engaging homeless).
  • Mixture of bought and donated stock. (Potentially park picking orders from local food businesses, especially where they are willing to sell at a discount)
  • Vary delivery rates based on availability of reasonable grocery offer in the delivery locality.

What I haven’t worked out yet is if the commercial side of a Qcommerce social enterprise can generate enough revenue to cover cost of operations for a commercial order (the charity side clearly cannot subsidise commercial operations although it can CapEx/OpEx the shared services).

Digital enablement amongst the poor is better that you might expect in the UK (the cost model for a mobile phone is favourable vs. a landline; and a number of internet providers offer social tariffs to households in receipt of a means tested benefit from the state). Can also offer an ordering kiosk at collection points

NB: for people living in the US–UK has never operated benefit programs like Food Stamps (milk tokens for children was the closest). Free school lunch (reasonable quality, better than US) for children is commonly available but eligibility varies by location; no lunch provision when school is not in session.

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