Webvan Case Analysis

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Executive Summary Webvan was dedicated to providing customers with a shopping solution that saved time and effort without sacrificing the quality selection or low prices that consumers had come to expect of traditional grocery stores. Webvan’s sophisticated system filled orders accurately 99% of the time and provided on-time deliveries 92% of the time. When the system ran at its intended full-design capacity, it was expected to generate an operating margin of 12% compared with the grocery industry’s norm of 4%. In this marketing plan, we analyze the profitability of this new venture, with a particular focus on the distribution system of Webvan. Situational Analysis (5Cs) Company Established in 1999, Webvan aspired to provide better service than was available at modern supermarkets through a same-day delivery system; within a customer selected 3-minute window. To encourage adoption, Webvan did not charge membership fees and waived delivery charges for orders over $50. Webvan’s two main strategic assets are its sophisticated warehouse technology and efficient delivery system. A high degree of automation at the warehouse minimizes human labor and, therefore, reduces inventory-holding costs. A two-level hub-and-spoke delivery concept reduces delivery times, and thus allows for more precise delivery scheduling and shorter delivery windows. Webvan wanted to solve the “final mile problem” by delivering even perishable products and use that distribution infrastructure to supply other household products. Webvan plans to extend its product portfolio, and to enter the market of the Atlanta area, followed by operations in Chicago and Seattle later in 2000 and in seven more cities in 2001. Customers Market research confirms that people perceive grocery shopping as a chore, yet appreciate the choice, quality, and low prices of classic grocery stores. Surveys show

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